Former Director of Youth in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is also Councillor for Chigumula Ward in the city of Blantyre, Lewis Ngalande, is not new to controversy.
It seems controversy and him have been bedfellows for a long time. He was the terror-in-chief and trusted Youth Director in the heydays of Bingu wa Mutharika, when the departed DPP godfather had fallen out with his then Vice President, Joyce Banda.
He is famous for manhandling former Member of Parliament for Thyolo North, Anitta Kalinde at Chileka Airport when the MP had gone to welcome Bingu from a foreign assignment, apparently for showing allegiance to the then estranged Vice President.
It was during Ngalande’s time as DPP Youth Director that the party’s youth cadets were accused of systematic violence and intimidation of political opponents. He was the mastermind of the infamous July 19 panga-brandishing campaign to intimidate would be July 20 demonstrators.
It was his time as the youth boss that government critics such as Rafik Hajat and Reverend Richard Sembereka had their offices and house respectively torched by what is generally believed to be DPP cadets.
In fact, Ngalande was one of the accused people were allegedly took part in the murder of the Polytechnic student, Robert Chasowa.
Now that he has been elected councillor, it seems Ngalande has graduated to another level and has taken his militant brand of brinkmanship on to a higher plane – the offices of the Blantyre City Council. He is currently in a bitter duel over allowances with the Blantyre City Council.
According to Nyasa Times sources who opted for anonymity, Ngalande together with his friend and fellow councillor for Bangwe Ward, Josephy Makwinja, went to Lilongwe last week on a private business trip where they made merry and accumulated a huge bill at Lingazi Inn, in food and accommodation.
“The two councillors claimed they were lodging at Lingadzi Inn with the blessings of the Blantyre City Council. The bills accumulated to over K300,000.00. When Lingadzi Inn contacted Blantyre City Council, they refused any responsibility.
“Chief Executive Officer for Blantyre City Council, Alfred Chanza refused any responsibility for the councillors’ trip to Lilongwe because it was private and that it was not in line with their entitlements as councillors. They were told that the council was not mandated to pick up the tub for private errands of councilors,” the source said.
The source said Ngalande became furious and threatened to deal with Chanza in a special way.
Said the source: “Councilor Lewis Ngalande threatened to use his political influence to effect the removal of the Blantyre City Council boss if he develops a habit of blocking him and other DPP councilors from having access to the council’s finances because, he said, him and fellow councilors fought hard for the DPP to get back in government. Right now the relationship between Ngalande and Chanza is deteriorating by the day.”
Lingadzi Inn officials confirmed the two councilors incured the bill and that they are struggling to recover the money
During the Bingu’s reign, Ngalande was also involved a fiasco over Youth Enterprise Development Fund (Yedef) loans. He used three students to access about K2 million loans from the fund, a development that was described by the fund director Harrison Mandindi as illegal.
Investigations revealed that Ngalande used two young men and a woman in Blantyre to access the second tranche of Yedef loans whose beneficiaries were published in the press in October last year.
He used Brian Kaunda; a student at Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA); Doris Mangazi, another accountancy student in Blantyre and PiliraniLita who was also a student at the time of getting the loans.
Nyasa Times attempts to seek Ngalande’s comment were futile as his mobile phone was either off or went unanswered.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :