Hunter gets hunted: Mtumodzi, Mtekama saga, as bail granted

It is the case of a vicious hunter being hunted, but as Nyasa Times investigates it seems there’s beef between the hunter and the hunted. One is claiming that revenge is being served cold and that it is nothing but political persecution while the other claims he is only doing his commissioned work which is enforcing the law.

Top-notch crime buster Bob Mtekama was confirmed head of Malawi Police Service’s CID on July 4 and  the next day early morning Deputy Principal Secretary for Ministry of Disabilities and the Elderly, Chikumbutso Mtumodzi, became the first casualty when he led team of officers to arrest him. But there seems to be more than just meets the eye.

Ironically, Police said Mtumodzi was suspected to be in possession of offensive weapons which included a bayonet and an AK 47 toy rifle. Coincidentally, Mtumodzi was responsible for the dismissal of an effective crime –buster Mtekama on political grounds.

Mtumodzi: Heading Al Shabaab?

Mtekema, who has served the police as a dedicated and a no nonsense cop,  boasts an impeccable an unimpeachable track record of nabbing dangerous and high profile criminals – was at one time head of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in the northern region of Malawi before being made into a uniformed General duties officer and sent to Karonga.

Summary Dismissal

Mtekama was summarily dismissed during the late Bingu wa Mutharika administration due to a spuriously cooked up intelligence report – which emanated from Mtumodzi , at the time the late president Bingu wa Mutharika  press officier  and private spy agent– that alleged that he (Mtekama) attended an opposition political rally former president Bakili Muluzi addressed at Masintha ground in Lilongwe to the extent that he was given a seat next to the former president.

The truth was that Mtekama was in Mzuzu when the said rally was conducted.

Armed Police officers stormed Mtekama’s home village in Nkhotakota district to quiz his family.

According to a source close to Mtekama’s family in Nkhotakota , a group of overzealous police officers accompanied by secret service agents invaded his Mtekama’s father house demanding to know where Mtekama got the money he bought the car he drives, a BMW and some cars that were parked at his parent’s house.

Said the source:  “It was explained to them Mtekama never bought any of the cars with his money but  that they were sent to him by his sisters who live in the UK. Then, the police asked for the vehicles documents to prove that the cars were indeed bought by his sisters in the UK.”

“They also demanded receipts and vehicle registrations papers which were duly provided and all the cars including the BMW that Mtekama drives were discovered that they bought by his (Mtekama’s) sisters,” added the source.

Nyasa Times understands that at that time BMtekama didn’t know what was happening. He was later served with a dismissal letter terminating his services claiming that he attended a political rally in Lilongwe held by former president Muluzi.

He was given five days to vacate the police house in the low density Kaning’ina suburb in the city of Mzuzu.

The dismissal letter was signed by the then Inspector General of Police, Oliver Kumbambe and served to Mtekama by the then Commissioner of Police responsible for the North, Finley Binali. But one of Mtekama’s close relative told Nyasa Times that Bob Mtekama has never in his entire life known or met the former president.

“In fact, it was the UDF led government that removed him away from his post and transferred to Chintheche before being moved to Karonga and thereafter to Mzuzu after he refused to take orders from politicians to arrest opposition leaders who included Brown Mpinganjira as he challenged them that he could not arrest people who didn’t commit any crime. He emphasized at that time that he does not take orders from politicians but follow the rule of law,” said the source.

Mtekama’s close relative said the officer has served the Malawi Police as CID central region boss for some time and his duty as a law enforcer has been described “diligent and apolitical.”

But with a day to go the then Commissioner of Police for the north, Binali summoned Mtekama to his office and told him that he had been cleared as there was strong evidence that Mtekama was in Mzuzu and not in Lilongwe as per the bogus intelligence report.

At this point, it was disclosed to Mtekama that there was a top senior government official who was implicating him and that he wanted him out of the police force. Mtekama was then removed from Mzuzu and was posted to Karonga.

Mtekama was made aware that it was Mtumodzi who had implicated him in the false report which was sent to the president and orders for his dismiss had come from above.

Genesis

The acrimonious relationship between Mtekama and Mtumodzi had started far much earlier. During the Muluzi era, Mtumodzi is said to have masterminded the transfer of Mtekama from Blantyre to Chintheche Police station on political grounds.

According to reports Mtumodzi is said to be bitter foes with Mtekama, as the cop had earlier arrested him (Mtekama) on criminal charges when he was working in Zomba. Nyasa Times could not independently verify the case of the arrest. But as charges of keeping rifles was initially slapped on Mtumodzi, Police sources say there are more accusations on him.

Mtumodzi’s father was a senior police officer and at one time lived in Zomba at the same time Mtekama was Zomba Police college.

A senior police officer at national Police Headquarters however told Nyasa Times that Mtumodzi’s investigations began way before Mtekama was elevated to his current position as head of CID.

Mtumodzi was accused of taking secrets documents which he obtained from State House when he was presidential press officer. The documents are purportedly in his custody.

The gun which police were searching at his house is an AK 47 rifle which was reportedly missing at State House. Police only managed to recover a bayonet.

Sources also say that Mtumodzi is being accused of carrying out banditry activities under a group codenamed “Al Shabaab,” which terrorised opponents of late Mutharika.

One of the victims of ‘Al Shabaab,’ is Maxon Mkumba who works in the Economic Planning Ministry. He had reported to law enforcing agencies on the attacks he had received from Mtumodzi and his cohorts.

But Mtumodzi claims the arrest is politically inspired.

He claimed the search at his house and the arrest was meant to intimidate him, saying there was no need for the police to arrest him at dawn, having over 20 officers, some armed.

But one police man from Lingadzi who was part of the operation who rounded up the former presidential press officer rubbished Mtumodzi’s assertions that the arrest is political and not criminal.

So has the hunter become the hunted?

Bail

Meanwhile, Mtumodzi was granted bail on Saturday, national police spokesperson Davie Chingwalu confirmed.

Chingwalu however refused to give more details on the conditions of the bail.

He nonetheless confirmed that Mtumodzi was rushed to hospital on Friday evening as he was “not feeling well.”

Mtumozi has spent two nights in the cooler at Lingadzi Police since Thursday this week.

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