By Alfred Mthandizi
Lilongwe Magistrate court has convicted ten Malawians for protesting new traffic rules by stoning vehicles. Malawi has been experiencing accidents almost on weekly basis.
Sensing danger of losing more lives, the government weighed in by introducing new traffic rules in form of custodial sentences to those breaking the rules.
In return, the Minibus Association of Malawi has been organizing countrywide demonstrations to express their anger with the new rules.
Confirming the sentence, Central region Police Public Relations Officer, Nollieta Chihana said, the court charged the protesters fines amounting to K20,000 or default sentence of 3 months in jail.
“Yes, it’s true that in a typical show of protest against the newly enforced traffic laws in the country, recently some unruly people mobilized themselves and started blocking roads, stoning vehicles along Masintha-Area 23 road in Lilongwe and labored to prevent passengers from boarding mini buses within the area,” said Chihana adding,
“Upon a tip from onlookers within the area, Kawale Police officers rushed to the scene and arrested ten suspects for the offence of Unlawful Assembly which is contrary to section 71 of the penal code.” said Chihana.
Chihana said appearing in Court, they entered a plea of guilty to the offence and First Grade Magistrate Arthur Mtalimanja sentenced five of the ten suspects to pay a fine of K20,000 or in default, serve 3 months Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL).
Nollieta identified the five as Lemon Chitukwi aged 34, Chikumbutso Foti aged 39, Wyson Thomas aged 19, James Alli aged 27, and William Holesi aged 23.
However, the Senior Resident Magistrate Chisomo Msokera worked out a 12 months suspended sentence for Pilirani James aged 26, Billy Zigwetsa aged 26, Hussein Kapalamula aged 32, Harry Zigwetsa aged 30 and Karren Chimutu aged 29.
Meanwhile, the Malawi Police Service is advising the general public to desist from criminal acts in order to keep Malawi safe and secure.