First to taste the cooler among former president Peter Mutharika’s inner circle was his closest security aide Norman Chisale just over two weeks ago.
On Monday this week, police picked up Mutharika’s one time executive assistant Collins Magalasi who was later sent to head the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera).
Then yesterday, police arrested the man who managed Mutharika’s life at State House for six years—his chief of staff Peter Mukhitho.
And they took back Chisale on yet another matter that the police did not disclose just two days after the court granted him bail on an attempted murder charge.
With Fiscal and Fraud Section of police yesterday arresting Mukhitho—who also served as Inspector General of police during the late Bingu wa Mutharika regime—Mutharika’s inner circle is crumbling around him.
While confirming Mukhitho’s arrest yesterday, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said details would not be made to avoid complicating ongoing investigations.
Said Kadadzera: “The Fiscal and Fraud Section arrested Mr. Peter Mukhitho in Lilongwe today [yesterday]. No more details for now as that may jeopardise investigations.”
Mukhitho sparked controversy during the late Bingu administration when he summoned Blessings Chinsinga, a lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, for one of his lectures.
The interrogation later led to the academic freedom saga. At the time, Peter Mutharika was Minister of Education in his late brother’s Cabinet.
While academicians and students wanted Mukhitho to apologise, he never did as Bingu defended him.
As for Chisale, he did not even have the chance to feel life outside Chichiri Prison walls as over 20 security personnel waited outside to pounce on him as he nosed out of confinement.
When The Nation crew arrived at Chichiri Prison around 2.15pm, two security vehicles with no number plates were parked outside with over 10 uniformed and armed police officers inside while over 10 plain-clothed security officers waited outside.
It was clear Chisale, despite the bail his lawyer Chancy Gondwe struggled to secure, was to face another devastating nightmare of his life.
Chisale’s relations, who came in four vehicles with the hope that their kin would finally walk to freedom after his initial arrest on July 14 2020 in connection with the importation of cement worth K5 billion duty-free, were left disappointed.
At exactly 3pm, the plain-clothed security officers signalled to their uniformed colleagues to drive one vehicle into the prison fence that would carry Chisale to Lilongwe.
At exactly 3.06pm, the security vehicle that drove inside the prison came out cruising carrying Chisale while the second vehicle trail it amid jeers from children of prison staff that gathered outside.
Chisale’s arrest yesterday was similar to what happened two weeks ago when he was re-arrested minutes after the Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court granted him bail.
In an interview, Chisale’s lawyer, Gondwe, who was present when his client was being rearrested, could not hide his disappointment.
He said it was not clear why his client was being arrested again.
Said Gondwe: “We were told that he [Chisale] is being arrested again for an offence he allegedly committed in Lilongwe and we don’t know as of now. So for now he is being transferred to Lilongwe where the crime is said to have been committed.”