Chitipa West Member of Parliament Welani Chilenga has claimed that chairperson of Kabaza operators, 28- year-old Thokozani Kambalame, who led a to Zodiak Broadcasting Station in Lilongwe recently demanding fairness from government, was murdered by some Malawi Congress Party (MCP) cadres.
Kambalame led recent protests by the Kabaza operators against what they called newly introduced unfair traffic regulations while chanting “Chakwera achokee!!” (Chakwera must go!)
He granted interviews voicing the Kabaza concerns.
Speaking in parliament, MP Chilenga condemned the “brutal” murder of Kambalame.
The death of Kambalame is a third politically connected murder to occur in central region of Malawi which is the strong hold of MCP, raising fears of a return of use of targeted murders as a political tool to suppress dissent which was rampant during the MCP 31 years rule .
MP for Blantyre North Francis Phiso also informed the august House of the death Gracian Chikoma who was reportedly found dead at Area 25 and was one of the contestants for local government seat on a Democratic Progressive Party ticket.
“Let me ask the minister to give an assurance that people of different views from the government will not be targeted. I want him just to assure us: how safe are we when we give different opinions?” Phiso said.
MCP returned to power on June 23 this year under the banner of Tonse Alliance after Malawi’s court ordered Fresh Presidential Elections in which President Lazarus Chakwera defeated Mutharika.
According to an eye witness who saw Kambalame before the murder, three people arrived at Chinsapo where Kambalambe used to do his Kabaza Tax business and asked him to ferry them into another location.
“The three disembarked from unregistered black Nissan Xtrail and asked Kambalame to ferry them to a certain drinking joint,” said the source.
According to the source, Kambalambe first told the people that it was late and he was knocking off and that they should fetch another Kabaza, but they insisted on hiring him.
“They offered to pay him same fee for each of them and that made Kambalame accept,” the source said.
His dead body and the motorcycle were discovered early the next morning along Malingunde road with his head smashed.
Police have confirmed the incident.
Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda. who is also MCP director of youth downplayed the murder or Kambalambe while promising that government will investigate the murder.
The Minister disclosed that relevant institutions are investigating murder cases of Issa Njauju, then-Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa and murder suspect Buleya Lule who died in police custody. Until his death, Njauju was Director of Corporate Affairs at the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“The way we are investigating the Lule, Chasowa and Njauju murders is the same way we are going to investigate that [kabaza rider] matter. Every death must be regrettable and this government will not allow any impunity in the country,” Chimwendo-Banda said.
“Let’s not politicize this death. It’s a normal crime. Government will investigate the death alongside other deaths,” he told Parliament.
Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa said “it is heart-breaking to note that this [Chakwera] government is harshly treating Kabaza operators. The government is confiscating their bicycles and motorcycles for alleged lack of operational documents when just three months ago, President Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance colleagues used the same Kabaza operators to spice up their campaign rallies.”
MCP has been mobilising the youth and radicalising them to wage a violent campaign of demonstrations against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government before its fall.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :