Malawi trigger happy lawmaker Mtelemuka charged with intimidation

Member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre City South East Constituency Jeffrey Mtelemuka on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to a charge of intimidation at Magistrates Court in Blantyre.

Mtelemuka has been dragged to court  on allegations that he, last month, intimidated his nephew and threatened to kill him after the two quarrelled over a piece of land in Bangwe Township, Blantyre.

The MP is said, in the course of the argument, threatened to kill his nephew, Frank Kambalame using his licensed pump gun he brags about so often in public.

According to Southern Region Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent, Nicholas Gondwa, the lawmaker who is  currently on police bail, has been charged with intimidation contrary to Section 88 (1) of the Penal Code.

Mtelemuka made his plea of  “not guilty”  before Magistrate, Diana Mangwana.

The case has since been adjourned to December 3rd for hearing.

“He was arrested and formally charged, and was given Police bail. Following his plea, the case will resume for hearing on December 3rd, 2012 when the Police are expected to parade witnesses,” Gondwa explained.

If convicted, Mtelemuka risks losing his Parliament seat and would have to wait for seven years before contesting for any public office.

The case

According to Police report, the heated argument between Mtelemuka and Kambalame ensued on the night of August 23, 2012 and that the latter was severely beaten by the Parliamentarian.

In an earlier interview with the local media, Kambalame claimed Mtelemuka also abused him verbally that he will die poor despite working with him during his 2009 political campaign.

“I was beaten by the MP on suspicion that I was influencing a family, from which he bought a piece land, to reverse its decision. But the truth of the matter was that I had no hand in the allegations,” said Kambalame.

He said when rumours started making rounds that the family wanted their land back after giving it a careful thought, Mtelemuka accused him of masterminding the move.

“The honourable MP called me around 9pm on August 23, 2012 for a brief meeting at one of our relations’ place, which is situated near to the piece of land he bought. But upon my arrival, he started accusing me of manipulating the family to claim their land from him,” Kambalame said.

“In 2009, I was always there for him to be where he is now but only to be attacked and insulted,” he said.

Kambalame reported the matter to Bangwe Police the following morning and the gun was confiscated from Mtelemuka.

Limbe Police spokesperson Chifundo Chibwezo confirmed the Police confiscated a pump gun from MP Mtelemuka after it was reported that he intimidated his nephew.

“We demanded to see the weapon and the supporting documents allowing him to possess it. But we confiscated because he is not supposed to use the gun to intimidate people,” said Chibwezo. She said the police are still keeping the gun pending a court case.

Trigger happy

Mtelemuka is one of the few MPs from the Democratic Progressive Party that rebelled against the late president Bingu wa Mutharika. Others were the current Information minister Moses Kunkuyu, Peter Nowa of Mulanje Pasani and Wells Gama.

He recently made made headlines when he told   members of the District Advisory Committee for Blantyre that he carries a gun in his car because people are “disrespectful” and he wants “to be respected”.

“I can’t allow to be threatened. I move around with a gun in my car because people are so disrespectful,” Ntelemuka said.

Ntelemuka repeated his earlier statement when some members said “muti shuta” meaning you’ll shoot us.

“That’s me. I can’t allow to be threatened. I need to be respected,” Ntelemuka said

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