A man said to be a patient at St. John’s Mental Hospital in Mzuzu invaded the burial site of Malawi pro-democracy hero and former State second vice president and founder of Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) Chakufwa Thom Chihana in Mzuzu’s Katoto.
The man, according to Mzuzu police said the mentally ill man broke the main entry gate and entered the site where he went away with a portrait of the late Chihana as well as other pictures.
Mzuzu police deputy spokesperson, Paul Tembo, said they managed to arrest the suspect after investigation and then took him back to the hospital.
“He was not a thief as some have speculated but a mad person. He ran away from the hospital without the doctors’ knowledge. I must say on record here that all what he took away was destroyed,” he said.
But a watchman at the site Robert Banda contradicted with the police saying he suspected the man was a thief because he carried panga knives.
“He broke the gate and directly went to the burial site where he stole some items. With two panga knives, the man ran away. I phoned the Chihana family who reported the matter to police,” said Banda.
Meanwhile, Chakufwa’s son, Enock, while expressing his disappointment asked the Tonse alliance government to tighten security at the site.
Chihana is remembered as democracy hero in Malawi for challenging president Kamuzu Banda whose 30-year-old rule of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) one party state was punctuated with tyranny.
He died in 2006 at a hospital in South Africa aged 67.