Southern Africa: Malawi Paramount Chiefs Asks Govt Not to Extradite Bushiri to South Africa

Malawi Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (file photo).
10 December 2020

Two senior chiefs have asked Malawi government not to extradite Prophet Shepherd Bushiri to South Africa.

This follows a letter by the South African government asking the government of Malawi to extradite Prophet Bushiri and his wife Mary.

In an interview, Paramount Chief Kyungu said that there is no need for the Bushiris to be extradited.

He said Malawi government is obliged to protect its own citizens.

"It is the responsibility of the Malawi government to protect its citizens, in our understanding he is innocent... as far as I am concerned prophet Bushiri is the son of Malawi, he is innocent, he has the right to be protected by his government, and he has not wronged us," said Paramount Chief.

On his part, Senior Chief Lukwa of Kasungu has also weighed in.

He says Malawi and South African governments before making any decision should consider safety and life of prophet Bushiri.

Lukwa said there are claims that the life of prophet Bushiri has been under threat.

He said there is no need to send the Bushiris to South Africa when it is an open secret that his life is endangered.

"We as Chewas believe that if a child has run away from the bush and seeks refuge in a house, we don't send that child back to the bush, no," said the senior chief.

Government of Malawi is on record as saying it will follow the law and procedure in addressing the whole fiasco.

Information Minister and Government spokesperson, Gospel Kazako, confirmed receiving a formal request from the South African government for the Bushiris' extradition and that Attorney-General is preparing "to proceed for the signature of the minister of homeland security in Malawi."

He said : " Once it is signed, it will be submitted to court for issuance of warrants of arrest by the court."

Kazako said: "It will depend when the minister signs and when the courts will act on the request from the attorney-general."

The Bushiris are expected to appear in the Lilongwe High Court on Monday, in a matter in which the State filed an appeal against the unconditional release of the charismatic preacher and his wife.

Lilongwe Magistrate Viva Nyimba had ruled that the couple's arrest in Malawi was illegal as there was no arrest warrant issued by the Malawian authorities. The magistrate ordered their unconditional release.

The couple fled South Africa after being released on bail early last month.

The Bushiris and their co-accused are facing charges charges of theft, money laundering and fraud relating to an investment scheme.

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