KasambaraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, Maggie, said the children, aged three, 11 and 13, had a little chat with their father immediately after his release from Chichiri Prison, but left for school later, leaving him with hordes of sympathisers celebrating his release.
Said Maggie in an interview outside Chichiri Prison on Thursday morning: Ã¢â‚¬Å“They were so anxious about the safety of their dad that one of them had to call just to find out if dad was still home relaxing and I said yes. The kids returned home, but they never had a chance to chat with him because he was still with friends.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Maggie said if her husband knew beforehand that his freedom would be shortlived, he would have had time with his children. Barely two hours after his release, dozens of heavily-armed police officers invaded the house to re-arrest Kasambara, prematurely ending a party the Kasambaras had organised for friends and relatives.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where are they taking him again mum?Ã¢â‚¬Â The unsuspecting mum was asked by one of the children.
Maggie told the children, who were in tears, to stay calm as she had to follow the police to where Kasambara was being taken.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The vehicles drove at a very high speed as if they had captured a hard-core criminal they had been looking for for years. With friends that included lawyers, we followed them.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was demoralised for once, but I had to pick up the broken pieces in me to stay strong. It was bad because I thought here is the love of my life who had regained his freedom, and returned home to stay. I never had that night with him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Maggie said she had to do a lot of explaining to the children, telling them where their father is.
She said although she knew it was affecting them psychologically, she could not hide the truth because everyone was talking about it even at their schools.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Here are kids that love their dad. They ask all sorts of questions, some funny, but I have to provide answers. They would ask to know what prison is like, when their dad is coming home, who has he wronged, and all that. Knowing kids, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m careful what I tell them.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I encourage them spiritually. I tell them dad has wronged no one. I tell them there is someone greater, the Almighty God [looking after him]. I tell them one day, dad will return home, strong-willed as he has ever been,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
Maggie said she has gone through harassment, especially when heavily-armed police descended at their Nyambadwe residence and combed it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They went into each and every room, turning things upside down, and you wonder [whether] they were looking for evidence for an assault case.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We knew this is political and we saw it coming. Ralph, with the nature of his job and activism in him, has been outspoken. He says it as it is. Who doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know this government has messed up our economy? Who doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know this government does not respect the rule of law as evidenced by authoritiesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ refusal to release my husband when there is a clear court order?Ã¢â‚¬Â she mused.
Maggie said she had no regrets about what has befallen her husband, saying he does everything for the love of his country.
She said having a critical viewpoint or a different opinion does not mean he hates the President or his government, but is simply trying to correct the wrongs for the benefit of all Malawians and to defend the Constitution the President swore to defend.
Maggie said she is grateful for the overwhelming support the family is receiving from people, many of them the family, including her husband, does not know.