Court defers bail for suspect arrested for insulting First Lady

suspect hamded himself over to Ndirande Police

Blantyre Magistrate Court has adjourned the case of Tumpale Makibinga who is answering three charges insulting First Lady Gertrude Mutharika.

Mwakibinga appeared in court in front of First Grade Magistrate Soka Banda on Wednesday where he was charged with three counts: insulting the modesty of a woman contrary to Section 137 (3) of the Constitution of Malawi.

The second charge is cyber harassment contrary to Section 86 of the Electronic Transaction Act and the third is obscene communication contrary to Section 87 of the Electronic Transaction Act.

Mwakibinga pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him. However, State Prosecutor Dickens Mabwazi applied for a further seven days to keep him in custody while they investigate further.

Mwambazi argued that is the accused it released, he would impede the investigation which lawyer representing Mwakibinga Gloria Mbendera argued that apart from being a first offender, her client had he surrendered himself at Ndirande Police station.

Mbendera also said Mwakibinga works in Blantyre at NBS Bank and, as such, he cannot leave the city.

However, the state insisted they keep him in custody. Banda said she will give her ruling on Thursday.

The court heard that Mwakibinga handed himself into the hands of Ndirande Police after he was informed that law enforcers come to his house.

The State based their case on the fact that Mwakibinga wanted to show the First Lady in bad faith to which the Magistrate asked if the two parties, Mwakibinga and Mutharika shared phone numbers, to which he answered no.

Banda said, understanding how WhatsApp works means that both parties need to have each other's number to see their statuses but this was not so in this case.

The Magistrate asked the prosecutor if Gertrude Mutharika reported to Ndirande Police that she was portrayed in a bad light to which the prosecutor said that is what they will be investigating.

The Magistrate said there was a sense of surprise when the case was presented because most people have been seeing pictures but the court could not determine the connection of how Mutharika saw Mwakibinga’s WhatsApp status.