Sept 12, 2015
A Malawian first grade magistrate court in Balaka district has ordered a 60 year old man to pay a fine of 3,000 kwacha (about USD5) or in default serve 3 months imprisonment with hard labour for insulting the state President.
Police Prosecutor Constable Christopher Nyirongo told the court that the suspect Alinafe Paul, 60 on the 31st day of August, 2015 insulted state president Professor Author Peter Mutharika.
Nyirongo said Paul was coming from the garden when he found a tractor woking on the earth road past his village.
The suspect then started accusing the President as to why he thought of grading the earth road during the dry season which was making a lot of dust and ended up calling the President names, a development that annoyed rulling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) sympathisers who reported the matter to Police.
Appearing before the Balaka First Grade Magistrate court, the suspect pleaded guilty to the charge of Conduct likely to cause a breach of Peace which is contrary to section 181 of the Penal code.
Upon submission of facts by the State, the court found him with a case to answer and consequently convicted him.
In his submission before sentence, Constable Nyirongo said the State President needs to be respected by everyone because he is a leader of the country regardless of one’s political affiliation.
“I therefore ask the court to consider giving the suspect a stiffer sentence so that it should be a lesson to would be offenders,” Constable Nyirongo asked the court.
But in mitigation, the suspect pleaded for forgiveness saying that he insulted the President thinking that things are just the same as it was during the campaign period when the President could be insulted anyhow. He thereafter apologised to all those offended.
Passing judgment, First Grade Magistrate Felix Mandala concurred with the state that the President deserve respect.
He said:- “It was surprising that at his age, the suspect could insult the State President. I therefore order him to pay a fine of 3,000 Kwacha or in default serve a 3 month jail-term.”
He said he has given him such a sentence considering that he pleaded guilty and showed remorse.
Alinafe Paul comes from Kanyumbaka village, Traditional Authority Nsamala in Balaka district and he has since paid the fine.
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