LILONGWE (Tamanda Mwale, Malawi NewsNow)- Malawi Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa has confirmed that Malawi Congress Party (MCP) member Mr Ulemu Msungama who was arrested on Sunday over the leaked Whatssap message where he alleged that there is need for a regime change, saying President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has failed to run the country, has been charged with sedition.
Gondwa said Msungama has been charged with Sedition contrary to Section 51 of the Penal Code.
In the string of WhatsApp messages linked the MCP, they are, for instance, said to have conspired to pursue the Arab Spring-like revolution to overthrow president Mutharika and his government.
They are said to have been infuriated by what they see as the president’s failure to end a stinging food crisis that has seen maize prices triple in just under a few months and inflation exceed over 20%. The kwacha has also sharply fallen.
Gondwa has also confirmed that Police are hunting for MCP’s publicity Secretary Jessie Kabwila and Lewis Chakhwantha on similar charges as those of Msungama.
MCP supporters clung to the Kanengo police station flanked by Juliana Lunguzi waiting for feedback on the decision about Msungama’s bail.
Hearing that he had been granted bail, they broke into anti- Mutharika songs and dance.
Police said no incidents of violence were reported.
The crowd at MCP headquaters in capital city centre Lilongwe had swelled to thousands of people in anticipation of an address by the party.
Sedition offence in section 51 of the penal code reads as follows:
(1) Any person who—
(a) does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do any act with a seditious intention;
(b) utters any seditious words;
(c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication;
(d) imports any seditious publication, unless he has no reason to believe that it is seditious,
shall be liable for a first offence to a fine of £400 and to imprisonment for five years and for a subsequent offence to imprisonment for seven years; and any seditious publication shall be forfeited.
(2) Any person who without lawful excuse has in his possession any seditious publication shall be liable for a first offence to a fine of £200 and to imprisonment for three years and for a subsequent offence to imprisonment for four years; and such publication shall be forfeited.
(3) It shall be a defence to a charge under the preceding subsection that, if the person charged did not know that the publication was seditious when it came into his possession, he did, as soon as the nature of the publication became known to him, deliver the publication to the nearest District Commissioner or to the officer in charge of the nearest police station.