Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango was on Tuesday chased from the funeral service of former Rumphi North member of Parliament (MP) Tasokwa Msiska whom he defeated in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
Mhango was chased alongside other Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members and his constituency campaign director Cheketa Msiska after some members of the bereaved family attacked them on accusations that they killed Msiska.
In an interview after the incident, Mhango said it was madness for the relations to accuse him and other DPP members of killing Msiska when the man succumbed to cancer and had been ill for a long time.
He suspected that the family was hitting back at him for refusing to authorise release of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to Msiska as payment for a K6 million ($10,714) project said to have been undertaken.
Mhango said the family members felt their father would have accessed better treatment with the money, hence the accusations that he was behind the death.
Said the minister: “They [family] feel that because I refused to release the money to their father, I contributed to his death. That is why they did not want me at the funeral. I was only protecting government resources. Instructed the DC [district commissioner] not to release the money because the claim was bogus.”
However, Mhango earlier suspected the attacks were politically motivated to harass DPP and was tempted to believe opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was behind the attacks.
He condemned the attacks, saying it was shameful for the family members to be used and embark on such violence at their father’s funeral.
Said Mhango: “This is very embarrassing. I don’t know what kind of children they are and where they inherited such habits. Their father was a gentleman. After the elections, their father humbly conceded defeat and he gave me his notes on developments and other issues in the constituency.”
The minister was forced to leave the scene after noting his presence would aggravate the situation.
Msiska contested the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections on MCP ticket and lost to Mhango. Msiska’s relation, Cheketa Msiska, campaigned for Mhango in the elections, a development that displeased the deceased’s family.
Cheketa Msiska suffered a cut above his eye and on the ear. He was rushed to the hospital, according to witnesses.
MCP spokesperson Jessie Kabwila said MCP does not believe in violence and it was unfortunate for the minister to suspect the party. n