Musicians and human rights activists on Tuesday shunned the first court hearing of the case against embattled hip-hop artist, Mwiza Chavura as the case was brought in the Lilongwe Magistrate court in Lilongwe.
On January 9, Chavura released a song titled “Nzakupanga rape” which hugely attracted an outcry from the general public, musicians and some of the women/girl rights activists in the country due to its explicit content.
One of the activists was former Chief Child Magistrate, Esmie Tembenu who urged the Police, on the basis of incitement; to “act on the issue and assure Malawians that such incitement has legal consequences’, referring to the legal parameters of Malawi.
Also, the Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) voiced out their concerns over the matter saying the song insulted the modesty of women.
On the other hand, musicians’ community in the country also vehemently condemned Chavura for releasing the song saying music should not in any way provide any slight room for propagating violence against women or any other sect.
He was eventually arrested on January 19 after he handed himself over to the police in Blantyre.
Considering the huge outbursts from various stakeholders and individuals, however; on the day of the commencement of court proceedings, not any or notable women/girl or other human rights activists were available as he was being charged and neither were any musicians present.
“Perhaps they are not very much convinced of the strength of their case or perhaps they have appreciated the true nature of the infraction that it was not as grave as they thought, but I would not know why they were not here.
“You would think that they would have come in mass especially considering how they reacted, I would not know,” said Nicely Msowoya who is one of the four lawyers representing Chavura Pro-bono in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana).
Also, there was no unusual presence of the general public as it sometimes is with many other cases of public interest. As such, it was easy to notice that only a handful of individuals had patronized the hearing.
Chief Resident Magistrate, Violet Chipawo scheduled hearing of the case for January 25 to decide whether to agree to the application made by the defense to provide bail to the 30 year old Chavura who has been charged with producing obscene materials contrary to section 179 of the Penal Code.
However, the prosecuting team said these charges could change as investigations are still ongoing.