Chiefs and villagers in the ‘bloodsuckers’ hotspot districts of Mulanje, Phalombe and Chiradzulu want President Peter Mutharika and senior government officials to address meetings to clear the mist.
In an interview in Mulanje on Wednesday, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kaduya suggested that government must organise high-profile rallies, led by the President and government officials, to address the villages involved and clear the mist about the bloodsuckers stories.
“My fear is that this issue is spreading like a wild fire. It may reach all districts in the country,” said Kaduya, adding that some development partners working in the district have already left for fear of being victimised.
Another T/A also from Mulanje, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed with Kaduya.
Said the chief: “We, as chiefs, are afraid of openly speaking about it to members of the public because we work with government which is treating the bloodsuckers’ issue as a myth.
“This issue is real. When they [bloodsuckers] get into a house, they first spread something like tear gas and flash a dazzling light. Then everyone in the house becomes too weak to shout for help.”
In trying to investigate the issue about bloodsuckers a Weekend Nation team on Wednesday went to the hotspot villages of Milonde and Namainja in Mulanje, where five people suspected to be blood suckers have been killed. Here, people strongly believe government is behind the blood sucking stories.
But T/A Mabuka of Mulanje, where the issue of bloodsuckers is rife, refused to talk to the Weekend Nation crew and asked the team to first get permission from police or Mulanje district commissioner (DC).
Mulanje police station administration officer Lameck Banda refused to give us permission, but DC Reinghard Kaweta-Chavula gave us an authorisation letter. However, although we were armed with the letter from the DC, the T/A still refused to talk to us, claiming that he is a victim.
He said a mob of angry villagers torched his house and court a few days earlier for suspecting him to be sheltering bloodsuckers.
On Wednesday, the atmosphere at the T/A’s residence and Mulanje as a whole was so tense that people did not want the Weekend Nation team to take pictures.
But villagers from Milonde, who also claimed to be victims, said government and some politicians are behind the ‘blood suckers’ issue.
One villager, Eranive Mahora, who also claimed to be a victim of bloodsuckers, said she learnt with great shock that some people still don’t believe that the issue is real.
“I become so angry when I hear people say we are mad for believing that some people have had their blood sucked. I fainted for three hours after being sucked blood. And we are now suspecting that government is behind this since it is not willing to address the issue.”
Last Sunday, two people from Namainja Village were brutally murdered on suspicion that they are bloodsuckers.
In Phalombe, irate villagers from Vanyiwa and Khamatcha descended on National Registration Bureau (NRB) officers for suspecting them to be involved in blood sucking, but they were rescued by police from the district.
In the same district, villagers from Njumwa smashed an ambulance on suspicion that it carried blood sucked from the people.
Six people have so far been killed for being suspected to be bloodsuckers or their accomplices. Those murdered include a chief from Nsanje.
In an interview on Thursday, Kaweta-Chavula could neither deny nor admit that there are blood suckers in the district.
She said her office has received many cases of victims of the blood sucking saga, but the challenge is that there is no tangible evidence.
“I cannot admit or deny that blood sucking is taking place because many people claim to been victims. But we don’t have evidence about it since the health personnel have not proved it.
“All I can say is that it has negatively impacted on the district as our development partners are living in fear and the number of tourists to the district has drastically reduced,” said Kaweta-Chavula.
Police in Mulanje said they have received over 30 cases of people claiming to be victims of bloodsuckers and managed to arrest over 35 suspects as perpetrators of mob justice.
Commenting on the issue yesterday, government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology maintained his stand that the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is behind the bloodsuckers rumour, saying the party just wants to tarnish the image of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) considering that the hotspot areas of blood sucking are in the stronghold of the ruling party.
But MCP deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka over the week said accusations against his party in relation to the issue were unfortunate and an indication that the DPP administration lacks direction in running government affairs.