Malawi Police arrest polygamous man for torching first wife’s house

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.

Onlookers lost for words as the inferno lazes the house, Pic by Patrick Botha -Mana

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.

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Tafwa Chipalamandule
Tafwa Chipalamandule
5 years ago

Chitsiru chamunthu! This man deserves to rot in jail. Our former president Prof Bingu Wa Muthalika used to say ‘Once he locks you up, he is going to throw the keys in the pitlatrine’. Oh yes, this evil man deserves to rot in jail! Kanundu eti kapena chingambwe!

JJ Phiri
JJ Phiri
5 years ago

wise father. Troublesome women and chidren need to be punished this way. This reminds me of Poly village in BT years ago when a lecture was heavily bitten and put in a car bonnet for the night by his children who were siding with their mother. The following morning he informed University management that he has moved out of college house and asked them to locate new member of staff to the house. The family was shocked to be told to move out unexpectedly as the father had by that time resigned and moved to South Africa for a new… Read more »

5 years ago

This is the reason why women should stop depending on men. Polygamy tortures women and children all the time. As ‘well-meaning people’ we should support the education of girls and accordingly encourage government’s efforts towards equality between men and women. Polygamy is mainly a product of poverty, of course, mixed with either religious and cultural bigotry – in short patriarchy. If women are financially self-reliant, they will GENERALLY not accept polygamy. In fact, with their own financial muscle they will either divorce a promiscuous husband or seek other men if unsatisfied in their marriage – which is a fair game.

5 years ago

Evil psycho.

5 years ago

Evil man.

wilson square
5 years ago


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