Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Police detain two over Chafukira's death

By Raphael Tenthani

A magistrates' court in the Malawi's administrative capital,Lilongwe, Tuesday allowed the continued detention of two people who were allegedly in the company of Ishmael Chafulira, the youthful protege-turned-bitter critic of main opposition Malawi Congress Party(MCP) president John Tembo, at the time of his mysterious death in South Africa last Sunday.

A police investogator Nector Chafikana applied for the continued detention of Rachael Chimenya, the 24-year-old woman who was allegedly with the legislator when he died, and Alex Matola, who allegedly broke the news about his mysterious death to his wife.

Police have, however, clarified that the two are not yet suspectsand therefore they have not been charged with anything.

"They are just assisting us in the investigations," said an affidavit sworn-in by Chafikana.

According to family members and police, Chafulira, 43, went to South Africa to buy personal vehicles but collapsed and died in a lodge in the town of Messina Sunday night.

Matola texted Chafukira's wife,Joyce, about the legislator's sudden death but had no details. Later reports monitored on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC),confirmed by Messina police, said Chafukira was in the company of Chimenya.

Three autopsies have since been conducted on Chafukira's body but the initial one conducted by a South African hospital showed no clear cause of death. Another one has since been ordered but who results will not be published until after at least six weeks.

Meanwhile, a Malawian pathologist Charles Dzamalala of the Malawi College of Medicine also conducted an autopsy on the body of the legislator but, again, the results are yet to be published.

Chafukira came to national prominence when he challenged the veteran opposition leader, Tembo, to resign blaming him for the MCP miserable loss to President Bingu wa Mutharika, candidate for the ruling Democratic progressive Party (DPP), during the May 19 polls.

The MCP had 60 Members of Parliament prior to the May polls but Malawi oldest political party only managed to retain 26 and Chafukira, backed by a group of the party's Young Turks, blamed the poor showing on Tembo.

"We have faired badly because of Tembo's divisive politics," said Chafukira, then MCP spokesman, who had just retained his Lilongwe North-West Constituency. "Tembo has to go to pave way to new blood."

Tembo, backed by a group of veteran loyalists, chastised Chafukira for rebelling against the party leadership.

He was immidiately suspended and later sacked from his position as party spokesman.
He was eventually expelled from the party.

Undetered Chafukira, joined by a growing number of disgruntled MCP politicians - including veteran politician Betson Majoni - who is the MCP deputy Secretary General, formed a task force on MCP leadership change chaired by former MCP MP Boniface Kadzamira.

At the time of his mysterious death the taskforce was going around the MCP strong hold of the central region to drum up support for the rebellion to unseat Tembo.

At his emotion-filled funeral outside the capital, Lilongwe, last Sunday, speaker-after-speaker called for a thorough investigation into the young politicia's death, suspecting foul play.

"If you are a witch or a wizard who has caused this death," said Majoni, "whether you are within or outside the MCP you will be found out."

Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhitho has since vowed to investigate the death "should there be suspected foul play".

Tembo has since welcomed the probe, saying the MCP "is equally keen to know what killed Chafukira since we worked with him before we differed on political views"-Associated Press.

1 comment:

  1. olo muwafufuze Chafukira is gone.Though, a police gwirani ntchito yanu.