In Malawi, attorneys for Vice President Cassim Chilumpha are condemning what they term delay tactics by government to prosecute the vice president. The vice president has been under house arrest for a year after the government brought treason charges against him. The opposition united democratic front (UDF) has condemned the long house arrest, saying Chilumpha has been put “in a cage for no reason at all’. But the government dismissed the allegations.
From the capital, Lilongwe Vice President Chilumpha’s lead attorney Fahad Assani tells the Voice of America that Malawians are sad about the treatment meted out to the vice president.
“I would say this is a very sad episode in our history and really, this government, which in my view has total disregard for issues on human rights and respect for people’s fundamental freedom. When a vice president has to answer charges, which really do not have any evidence at all, we have seen whatever they are talking about, despite that they are hiding it from us. But you look at it and say, come on guys, is this how we have to run a government, just because you want to make a political point? It’s quite sad, and the people in this country are very sad about it,” he said.
Assani dismissed a statement by the minister of information that the prosecution’s evidence against the vice president would be compelling.
“In fact I’m shocked that she has said that, because really, looking at the whole thing, she is not even an authority as to understand what evidence is and what conjectures are so. Because of that, I might forgive her. But really I will call them just tantrums from our minister. I wish she understood what evidence the state has, considering that we listened to the tapes, which the state even made the vice president listen to. You look at them. You listen to them. You feel very, very saddened,” Assani pointed out.
He said Malawians are shocked at the treatment meted out to the vice president.
“In fact what is shocking to this country is that the vice president has been tortured, humiliated, and victimized for one full year, without any evidence at all. And people in this country know there is no evidence against the vice president. And I’m actually dead sure this is not a matter, which is prosecutable at all,” he said.
Assani said well wishers of the vice president have been contributing towards his legal expense.
“Indeed, this case is extremely very expensive on the part of the vice president. He is managing here and there, but at the same time we also have well wishers who know that this government is only up to torturing him, who one way or the other do provide some financial requirement when it is needed,” Assani noted.
He praised the resolve of the vice president to seek justice.
“The vice president, as a person, for some reason is amazingly very strong emotionally. And because he believes that all these things will come to pass and people will realize that the government only wants him to suffer because of his allegiance to United Democratic Party, that keeps him very strong because he knows by the end of the day, he will be vindicated,” said Assani.