Traditional Authority (T/A) Bvumbwe of Thyolo, who has crossed paths with the ruling People’s Party (PP) over his remarks at a funeral service attended by Malawi President Joyce Banda, has gone missing after receiving death threats through anonymous calls.
Thyolo district commissioner (DC) Lawford Palani confirmed in an interview on Wednesday the chief was getting death threats and insults from unknown people.
The DC said Bvumbwe Police Station officer Lillian Nkhoma telephoned his office on Wednesday to find out if he knew the whereabouts of the chief.
Family members of the chief went to Bvumbwe Police Station and complained that their kin did not return home after he left Tuesday evening.
PP officials, led by Brown Mpinganjira, on Tuesday approached Thyolo DC and asked him to organise chiefs in the district to apologise to the President over remarks made by Bvumbwe.
On Sunday, the youthful T/A, during the funeral service for the late High Court judge Joseph Manyungwa, told the President that he was disappointed with the distribution of PP T-shirts at the funeral.
The chief openly told the President that it should never happen again and that if the party officials wanted, they should hold political rallies and distribute the T-shirts there.
But the DC on Wednesday said he did not think something tragic has happened to the chief, suggesting he could be somewhere taking a breather.
Palani said he was with T/A Bvumbwe on Tuesday afternoon at Bvumbwe Trading Centre where they had meetings at the market and prison.
Maria Ndasowa Mainja, who said she is a close friend of T/A Bvumbwe, said people in Bvumbwe were bitter with the developments. She said a march has since been organised today to demand an explanation from authorities.
After some closed-door meetings at the DC’s office in Thyolo on Tuesday, two senior chiefs, some T/As and two sub-T/As were bundled onto a Toyota Land Cruiser offered by the Thyolo DC.
They were driven to Blantyre where an abrupt news conference was organised by the Ministry of Information and Civic Education at the Central Office of Information (COI). The chiefs took turns to attack Bvumbwe.