Former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s mausoleum at Ndata Farm in Thyolo has been ransacked, with six portraits and other accessories broken.
Police have since arrested an 18-year-old boy, suspected to be mentally disturbed, in connection with the incident that happened on the night of July 3, according to police sources.
National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa asked for more time to get details on the issue.
But police sources yesterday identified the teenager as Ernest Mayaya Walesi from Metabale Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chimaliro in Thyolo District.
The sources said Walesi destroyed several items at the mausoleum, officially called Mpumulo wa Bata, which Bingu built for himself and Ethel, his first wife of 37 years who died from cancer in 2007.
Some of the destroyed items include six big portraits of the late Bingu, two serving bowls, two big drawers, one big window, picture frames and bulb holders, said the sources.
Said one police source: “It is suspected that he [Walesi] found his way into the mausoleum when security officers who were on duty were busy doing patrols away from the entrance.”
The source said Walesi is in police custody pending a psychiatric examination at Zomba Mental Hospital to ascertain if he can be taken to court.
Efforts to speak to Southern Region Police spokesperson James Kadadzera proved futile as his phone went unanswered after several attempts.
During Bingu’s rule, Ndata Farm, his private farm where the mausoleum is situated, was under tight security, but the security was withdrawn after his death in April 2012. The place then looked completely abandoned and grass grew all over. The fence was also vandalised.
Security was restored after President Peter Mutharika, late Bingu’s brother, was elected into power during the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
The late Bingu died of a cardiac arrest on April 5 2012 and was buried at the mausoleum on April 23 2012.