Police raids into houses of two bodyguards of Leader of Opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, who is also president of main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), on Thursday has prompted accusations of intimidation of the opposition by government.
According to MCP deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka, over 20 police officers stormed the house of one of the bodyguards in the early hours of Thursday morning and 15 others followed by raiding the home of a second bodygaud later in the afternoon, allegedly searching for fire arms.
Mkaka said police later detained both bodyguards, named as Bikiel Kapuchi and a Mr Gama, respectively, and interrogated them at Lilongwe Police Station before releasing them.
“This is simply political persecution and intimidation. They are doing it indirectly to threaten our president. They said they are looking for firearms, but we know this is part of a campaign to silence our president since he has been critical of government,” said Mkaka.
He said Gama’s house is in Area 49 while Kapuchi stays in Bwemba, near Chinsapo Township, in Lilongwe.
However, National Police Headquarters Spokesperson James Kadadzera, while confirming the raid, disputed that the bodyguards were detained, and he only confirmed that one bodyguard’s home was raided.
He said police had a legitimate search warrant for a credible investigation and ruled out any under-hand tactics, including a government ploy to intimidate the opposition.
However, Kadadzera refused to disclose the specific details of the investigation, citing the need to protect on-going investigations. But he confirmed the names of Bikiel Kapuchi.