Malawi Police on Likoma Island are keeping in custody a 64-year-old polygamous man for setting on fire the house in which his first wife and children were living.
Michael Lembalemba, father of six, shocked everybody at Madimba area, Chamba Village in Traditional Authority Mkumpha when Tuesday 12 noon he set the house on fire.
Lembalemba, who operates a radio repair shop at Mbamba Main Market on the island, allegedly came home ranting at his wife and children.
“Park all your belongings. I’m setting this house on fire. I already told you to pack and leave with your notorious children last year. Am fed up with you,” said an eyewitness.
In no time, he was seen charging into the house where he took a suitcase full of his clothes and beddings outside. After seeing that his wife and children were not moving out of the house, he started torching the four corners of his grass-thatched house.
When neighbours saw the fire, they came and attempted to rescue the little they could from the inferno but it was too late. The police were called to the scene but there was nothing they could save.
They arrested Lembalemba and took him into custody at Likoma Police Station where he is facing charges of arson.
“Yes, I can confirm that Mr. Michael Lembalemba is in our custody and he is going to be charged with arson, which is contrary to section 338 of the Penal Code,” said Sergeant Mcliff Nguluwe, Likoma Police spokesperson.
Nguluwe said the suspect seems to be in a stable mental state because he admitted to deliberately torching his house for the very reason that he did not want his wife and children to continue staying in the house.
The suspect, who has another wife in Chiponde area on the southern side of the island, is often violent, sarcastic, abusive and negligent towards his first wife and children, according to one resident in the area.
“We know this man is violent and abusive to his family but we never thought he could do something like this.
“He has often been shouting at his wife to pack and go back to her home in Mangochi. But we never imagined this,” said a neighbor who has known the family for more than six years.
Cases of arson are not common in the district which records a very low crime rate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :