Malawi Police arrest ex Zambia First Lady—paper

Police in Lilongwe on Monday detained former Zambian First Lady Vera Chiluba and a Nigerian pastor for allegedly soliciting money by false pretence, reports the Weekend Nation of Saturday, February 25, 2012.

According to the newspaper, one of the Malawian pastors who hosted the two, Reverend Ian Longwe, Vera, who was wife to former Zambian President, the late Frederick Chiluba, and Prophet Sunday Chikwui were detained at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe and later police took the Nigerian pastor to the National Police Headquarters before he was later set free.

“It was very shameful and embarrassing for police to detain the former Zambian First Lady without the knowledge of the Zambian High Commission. She was told not to move or go anywhere at the hotel.

Vera Chiluba

“She was freed after police learnt that she was former Zambian First Lady,” the newspaper quotes Longwe as explaining.

Central Region police spokesperson John Namalenga, however, said they only arrested the prophet and not Chiluba.

“The prophet came with four other people, but he was the only one arrested because he is the one who committed the offence,” Namangale is quoted to have told the paper.

According to Longwe, who runs the World of Faith Bible Church, the former Zambian First Lady came with the prophet for a week-long crusade held at Lilongwe Pentecostal Church.

The Nigerian Prophet, who runs Daba Ministries International, was granted bail on Thursday and flew out of the country the same day.

Police said, according to the weekly, at the time of his arrest, the prophet was found in possession of K711, 345 in his hotel room after he was reported to have been soliciting money in exchange for prayers for healing and financial breakthroughs.

Longwe said that the police also searched for guns and drugs in the prophet’s hotel room.

“I saw the police search warrant. They were looking for cocaine. It was alleged that the prophet had drugs, firearms and was running an illegal business without permit and was forcing people to pay him money,” Longwe is quoted to have said.

According to the newspaper, Longwe accused President Bingu wa Mutharika’s advisors of influencing the police to arrest the visiting prophet because he said the prophet prayed for their fall for misleading the Malawi leader on governance.

“The prophet said Malawi is a great country and has a great leader, but the people around him are wrong. He said that we must pray that God should bring them down and raise genuine people who can tell the President the truth.

“He (the prophet) said the President needs people who can be committed to him for the development of the country and not for money. One presidential adviser called a police commissioner to order the arrest of the pastor,” Longwe is quoted to have claimed.

The newspaper reported that Longwe said several top government officials including ministers and Members of Parliament attended the crusade.

“Why should a man of God be embarrassed because of the little K700,000? Are you saying we can fail to raise K700,000 for the man of God? We gave him the money to pay for his accommodation at the hotel,” said Longwe.

The Malawi authorities are also on record to have detained for hours and deported in 2007 former Zambian opposition leader Michael Chilufya Sata. Sata was last year elected President of Zambia.

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