Drama over Jessie Kabwila’s arrest
Drama surrounded the arrest of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Publicity Secretary, Jessie Kabwila near the Germany Embassy in Lilongwe on Monday.
Suspicion started growing when around 3 O’clock in the afternoon, police officers mounted a roadblock near Parliament Building.
Senior police officers were seen checking passengers in all vehicles that drove past the barrier.
As this was happening MPs, including Kabwila and Lilongwe South West MP, Louis Chakhwantha were in the chamber.
After Parliament adjourned, the MPs marched to the roadblock to force the officers out of the place.
National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa and MCP deputy spokesperson Ezekiel Ching’oma confirmed the arrest.
Only yesterday, the police said they had no reasons to arrest the Salima North West Parliamentarian.
“She was picked outside Ministry of Tourism offices, which are near the Germany Embassy. Currently she is at Kanengo Police Station,” Ching’oma said.
He was, however, not sure about the whereabouts of Chakhwantha. But other sources said Chakhwantha had taken refuge at an embassy
MCP leaders and leaders of other political parties yesterday evening gathered at Kanengo Police Station, where Kabwila was said to be held.
Before the arrest, Kabwila granted The Daily Times an interview, in which she declared that she will not stop serving her constituents.
“I’m never afraid to serve my people. I have heard a lot of things. I have heard of papers being served at my house. I’ve heard of allegations against me. But I will not comment on what I have not seen,” Kabwila said.
On her whereabouts before she appeared in Parliament, Kabwila said: “I fought DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] for a long time. If there is someone who can understand the behaviour of DPP, it’s me. You know what happened to Chasowa and others.”
Before Kabwila and Chakhwantha entered the chamber, some Members of Parliament said the police wanted to arrest the two.
Soon after Speaker Richard Msowoya had read communications to the MPs, Lilongwe Msozi South legislator, Vitus Dzoole Mwale stood on point of order, seeking explanation from government.
“Mr Speaker Sir, as the House is sitting, there are some issues happening in this country, which are of national importance. We have learnt that some MPs are living in fear. The police are hunting for them. We want Minister of Home Affairs to explain what is happening,” Dzoole Mwale said.
Dedza North West MP, Alekeni Menyani, wondered how they could proceed meeting when Kabwila and Chakhwantha were living in fear.
“Why should we proceed with this meeting when the two are living in fear? Their families are living in distress,” Menyani said.
The Speaker said his office had not received any communication on the matter.
Leader of the House, Francis Kasaila said the House should focus on the Business in the House.
“We have business in this House. People were arrested in PP [People’s Party] administration, let’s focus on business that is in this House,” Kasaila said.
The MPs then proceeded with business in the House, with Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security Allan Chiyembekeza tabling a statement on food situation in the country.
Kabwila becomes the second MCP official, after Ulemu Msungama, to be arrested on similar charges. Msungama was picked on Sunday and released the following day.
Chancellor College based political scientist Boniface Dulani describes the arrest as a sign of desperation on the part of government which trying to diver t people’s attention from the many social, economic and political challenges the country is facing.“If you are being arrested for treason these are all political crimes, we might have a record as a country to arresting too many people on treason especially in this age of democracy where people have the right to express their views, so all this is just a sign of government which is in desperation and clueless on its own doings.” said Dulani
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