Opposition DPP says it will go ahead with its convention on April 17, despite Wednesday’s decision by Lilongwe magistrate court to reschedule the treason trial of some top party officials to April 16, a day before the indaba.
DDP Director of Research Dr George Chaponda said the convention will proceed as planned despite the tight schedule.
“We’re not shaken with the timing. Not at all,” said Chaponda.
But a local political analyst Henry Chingaipe has warned that the rescheduling of the high profile treason case will pose serious logistical challenges for the most of the suspects.
“This is because sometimes court proceedings take a lot of time and could be adjourned willy-nilly, which would throw travel plans of the DPP officials involved in the case into quagmire,” said Chingaipe.
However Dr. Chingaipe also said lawyers of the defence could if they so require-apply for the shifting of the date for the trial.
According to Dr. Chaponda, DPP will use all the resources at its disposal to ensure that all the DPP officials who are supposed to appear before the court on 16th April, 2013 attend the convention as planned.
“My friend, we’ve vehicles and, again, this is an age of technology-we’ll handle this,” he said.
Four of the treason suspects, including Professor Peter Mutharika were expected to take plea on the charge of perjury (lying under oath) at Lilongwe Magistrate court Wednesday but magistrate Ruth Chinangwa adjourned the case to 16 April, 2013.
This was after lawyers for the defence had objected to have the perjury case heard separately at the lower court.
The principal argument for the defence was that their clients could not be tried by two courts for the same charges, urging the Director of Public Prosecution to either take the case to the high court-where the case is right now-or else take it to the magistrate court.
“As it is now, the state is trying to open two fronts for our clients in this case, which we feel will subject them to an unfair trial,” said Samuel Tembenu, one of the defence counsels told the court.