DPP regional governor for the South Noel Masangwi has spent his first night in custody after his lawyer failed to process his bail application on Wednesday.
Masangwi was arrested in the morning in connection with the murder of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa last year, a move his family claims is politically motivated and aims at finishing his political career.
The DPP regional governor was mentioned alongside othersÂ in the Robert Chasowa Commission of Inquiry report presented to President Joyce Banda last week.
Masangwi surrendered himself to the Southern Region Police Headquarters in Blantyre after police arrested five other suspects in connection with the Chasowa murder.
The surrender was staged in dramatic fashion, with family members, some party loyalists and Mulhako wa Alhomwe figures forming an escort party all the way to the police precincts.
Lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale said his client, later detained at Chilomoni Police, had not yet been interviewed by the afternoon and that restrained him from proceeding with the bail application.
Kaphale complained he was also denied access to interview his other client, the DPP youth director Lewis Ngalande, detained at Limbe Police.
National Police deputy spokesperson Kelvin Maigwa said others arrested are police officer Stanford Horea, businessperson and boxing promoter Mike Chitenje, Stone Mwamande and Sam Chulu. The suspects were held at different police stations.
Maigwa said more arrests were expected.
The Masangwi family claimed the arrest of their kin is political.
Said his brother, associate professor Salule Masangwi, in an interview: â€œWe sympathise with the Chasowa family on the death of their son, Robert. We commended the Peopleâ€™s Party administration when it instituted a commission of inquiry to establish the truth.
â€œBut as a family, we are concerned because we know government influenced the findings and it leaked the report to the media before police investigations were finished to nail my young brother.â€
Salule also alleged some senior government officials have plotted to punish his brother for arguing, while DPP was in power, that Malawi was not ready for a female president. At the time, President Joyce Banda was vice-president.
Said Salule: â€œBut we trust our Judiciary, it is independent. I can vouch that my brother is innocent and Malawians should expect to know the truth when the matter comes in court. How on earth can you have a ruling party executive member in the commission of inquiry and expect to have findings acceptable to all?
â€œI have informed our parents who are in their late 70s and are very saddened about the developments. I will be travelling home to calm them down.â€
Noel Masangwi, in the company of party officials, friends and his lawyer, handed himself after police left a message at his Kanjedza residence on Tuesday night that he was wanted.
Masangwiâ€™s ally, businessperson Leston Mulli, at about 9am drove the suspect in a Toyota Fortuner to the Southern Region Police Headquarters. Among those present were his brothers Salule and Zomba Ntonya legislator Ted Masangwi and former State Residences director Edward Sawerengera.
Maigwa dismissed the claims that the arrest is political, arguing police is an independent, impartial and professional organisation.
Said Maigwa: â€œIf it were political, we would not have arrested a police officer who is in custody now. We just follow the law.â€
In an interview before his arrest, Masangwi claimed he had information about how his arrest was plotted and he would lay it bear in court.
Said Masangwi â€œMy conscience is very clear. I am going to hand myself to police. I trust my God and he will take me through all this and shame the schemers of my arrest.â€
In an interview with Zodiak Broadcasting Station, DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the party will fully support their governor. But he did not elaborate as they are waiting
for information on the matter.