Malawi Police officers stormed the home village of spokesman for finance in the opposition People’s Party (PP), Ralph Jooma in Monkey bay and conducted door-to-door searches without warrant and harassed villagers in a mysterious operation that has Officer in Charge of Mangochi and Inspector General of Police are not sure who sanctioned the cops.
The police this week searched the houses of Jooma relations as the Mangochi Monkey bay parliamentarian was in Lilongwe.
“It was intimidation and harassment. The searches yielded nothing,” said one of the villagers.
PP secretary general Ibrahim Matola confirmed the incident, saying the party was tipped that the operation was organised by a cabinet minister without the knowledge of the police chief, saying it political harassment following Jooma’s recent critique of government in parliament.
“We are saddened with what happened. It was clear a political vendetta and not law enforcement,” he said.
Meanwhile, disgruntled members from a network of people recently exposed as being at the centre stage in illegal wood exports are sending death threats to the members of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources.
After conducting an investigation into a suspected thriving illegal timber trade business the Committee named individuals and companies involved in smuggling the indigenous hardwood which is a protected item under the country’s law.
The committee’s leadership has since reported the matter to Parliament seeking protection as they fear for their lives, its Welani Chilenga, confirmed to a local press that they are “living in fear” following the threats.
“We are worried that some committee members, especially I and my deputy, are leaving in fear as these illegal wood exporters say they have organized hit squads to take away our lives,” said the Chair.
The committee’s vice chair Alex Majoni collaborated the threat issue, saying they are worried of the many anonymous calls issuing all sorts of threats over the matter, but has said that they are not moved at all.
Majoni has however said they will not stop at nothing “to preserve the country’s natural resources because at the rate the country is losing her forests the economic and climate challenges will remain the same if no corrective measures are done”.
Clerk of Parliament Roosevelt Gondwe confirmed receiving a written report from the committee and that National Assembly is “ sending it to the Inspector General of Police for further inquiry since Parliament is not an investigative body.”
In a report, 35 culprits were named in the depletion of hardwood in some parts of the country forest reserves and that K 643, 042,226.80 worth of licenses dues to government were also evaded.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation has since condemned those issuing the threats and called upon the Police to probe the matter and take appropriate action for it is for the national good.
The report also says that a combination of hardwood from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia is being illegally exported to China through Mozambique ports, despite the 2008 ban on exports of all forms of wood to address the status of indigenous hardwood in the country which showed that there was no forest that could sustain supply of hardwood timber for domestic and export.
One of the suspected timber racketeers is ruling DPP mafia, Noel Masangwi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :