Police on Monday foiled a daring attempt by the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to prevent the arrest of Salima North West member of Parliament (MP) Jessie Kabwila and Lilongwe South West MP Peter Chakhwantha.
The arrest was an anti-climax to what started out as relatively quiet afternoon at Parliament when Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya resisted attempts to be drawn into the issue of the arrest of MCP member Ulemu Msungama and whereabouts of Kabwila and Chakhwantha.
After Dedza North West MP Alekeni Menyani and Lilongwe Msozi South MP Vitus Dzoole Mwale, both of MCP, informed the Speaker of the arrest and pending arrests demanding an explanation from the government side, Msowoya told the House that he could not act unless he received formal communication or the MPs made a request for information as dictated by Standing Orders.
As MPs were asking questions on a ministerial statement on the food situation which Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza presented to Parliament, some MCP MPs were seen standing outside the chamber congregating and this is perhaps where the plan was hatched to get the two MPs out without police detection.
However, after Kabwila and Chakhwantha were spirited away from the precincts of Parliament, opposition MPs mobilised each other and marched to the scene where the police had mounted a roadblock just by the Kamuzu Mausoleum on Presidential Way.
“Let’s go there and remove that illegal roadblock. They cannot imprison us as we are doing our job,” several MPs were heard saying as they marched to the gates.
As the MPs were marching to remove the roadblock, news reached the group that Kabwila had been arrested outside the German Embassy, some 500 metres from Parliament as she attempted to seek protection. n