…party officials besiege mourning family
…DPP tells officials hands-off
On Thursday, 10th of August, 2023, two days after Malawi’s finance giant Goodall Gondwe had suddenly died at his home after taking some medications, his farm manager at Mitundu received a guest, Rumphi North MP Jappie Mhango who informed him, from now on, everything at this farm should go through him.
The Manager was confused. His boss had just collapsed and died less than 48 hours, and they were planning how to attend the funeral, not how to manage the farm.
Mhango who was appointed Chairman of the Funeral Organising Committee had grown closer to the “old man” and he claimed all the bills presented were legitimate, and told a committee of DPP senior officials investigating his conduct he had spent K21 million during the funeral.
First visit to Mrs Gondwe
The pattern would continue, after the burial of the late Gondwe at Enukweni, on Monday the 14th, Mrs. Gondwe, nee Gertrude NyaSimbeye, returned to Lilongwe to start the mourning period of her husband and companion of many years.
Little did she know, she would barely rest. People that her husband had supported financially for years, were counting the K28 million (The Investigator Magazine got the figure from others) that had been donated as condolence money.
On Wednesday the 16th, the Chairperson of the funeral organising committee Jappie Mhango visited her. He had been a frequent visitor to the house, she was happy to see a familiar face. She was in for the shock of her life.
“Mhango asked her that there were remaining bills amounting to K4.6 million that needed to be settled. This day only a catering bill was mentioned,” said a family source, a claim collaborated by several senior citizens in the Northern Region, Mrs. Gondwe has complained to.
She informed him that she was mourning her husband and that she was too weak to think about money. She asked for more time and said her daughter would settle all the bills before returning to the USA.
The Farm Manager had informed her of the strange order that all farm matters should be handled by the DPP Treasurer General.
A strange call about the House
A day after Mhango’s visit, Mrs. Gondwe received a phone from a number she did not know. The man at the other end sounded like an Asian and introduced himself offering condolences on the passing of her husband.
“The man shocked her and said he had been told the house was up for sale, how much did she want for it? The man went on to ask about her children from the USA as to when they would leave so they could discuss the house buying,” said the source.
Mrs. Gondwe was shell-shocked. She cried the whole afternoon. She could not believe days after her husband’s sudden death; she would be managing such horrendous calls and visits.
“Someone who knew the family well gave them the number and even discussed the names of Goodall’s kids with this Asian. The family does not know him, and it is mourning the passing of its patriarch. It is un-Malawian and less human to ask a widow to almost move out of the house by suggesting a sale days after his passing,” said another family member.
The Investigator Magazine is tracing the person who called and will publish his details soon.
Mhango, Mzomera Ngwira visit Mrs Gondwe
On Saturday, 19th August Mhango returned to Area 10 house to meet Mrs Gondwe again and Regional Governor of North Mzomera Ngwira was there.
Mhango asked Mrs. Gondwe if there had been any movement on payments of the K4.6 million while Mzomera Ngwira is alleged to have asked for financial assistance from the widow.
When she asked one of them where would she get the money while she was mourning and asked for patience, it is alleged that the person responded, “Maybe from that condolence money.”
Mrs Gondwe asked for more time and when they left, she called several people from the DPP to report the conduct of the two.
She was advised to lock the gate and not allow them to see her anymore.
Mhango is said to have returned two days later but he was stopped from meeting her.
Further harassment from alleged suppliers
Another supplier allegedly called the late Goodall’s trusted aide only identified as Sikwese demanding the widow’s number for her balance after she supplied tea to the funeral house. The tea was charged at K2800 per person, according to receipts we have seen.
DPP officials convened, Mhango asked to back off
As the matter escalated, some DPP officials informed the party leader Peter Mutharika of the embarrassing episodes that some of his officials were engaged in harassing the widow of one of his closest friends.
“APM was very furious. He called it sad and unfortunate if it is true,” said a source adding that senior members who included Khwauli Msiska, Bruce Munthali, Charles Mhango, and Mganda Chiume were duly informed to pursue the matter.
On Friday, 25th August, Khwauli Msiska, Munthali, and Samuel Tembenu met Jappie Mhango to find out the growing concerns on the issues related to the Late Goodall Gondwes family. The Farm Manager from Goodall’s Mitundu farm was present and confirmed that Mhango had visited the farm.
“He produced a one-page report stating that as a committee he had spent K21 million during the funeral and there were some balances left to settle amounting to K4.6 million. He has been asked to bring receipts and back up the source of K21 million,” said a family member briefed on the meeting.
The team told him to stay off Mrs. Gondwe and that he should indicate the pledges collected and used during the funeral as most of the services were settled directly by well-wishers that it was impossible to spend K21 million.
Khwauli Msiska, Munthali, and Tembenu could not be reached for a comment, but Mganda Chiume said he was at his house and did not know about the meeting or the issues being referred to.
The DPP Treasurer General Jappie Mhango who has been campaigning to replace Goodall Gondwe as Vice President of the party, says the matter was being blown out of proportion as he had receipts and suppliers who needed to be paid.
“The extension of the burial meant costs went up for one day. The tea was supplied on a night at home without my knowledge that when we paid others their invoice was not included,” said Mhango, dismissing the allegations that he has been harassing the widow.
He said there was a balance at Goodwill Funeral Services (about K1.7 million), extra transport, and the added catering which came up to K4.6 million.
He said on the farms, the Late Goodall had treated him like a son, and on the Sunday before his death he had asked him for help at Chantunga Farm in Nkhatabay. He said he had volunteered to help him with all the farms.
He denied visiting Mitundu Farm.
Jappie Mhango, Mzomera campaign for Goodall Gondwe’s post
Mhango and his ally Mzomera Ngwira have gone full throttle to campaign in the region to have him appointed as Vice President for the North, which would give him an edge over other contestants in the 2024 party elective conference.
“Goodall indicated he had retired. He wanted to rest as he was not feeling well. These two have been working hard to replace him even when he was alive,” said a DPP member of the Northern Region committee.
He said Mhango, Mzomera, and a Regional Treasurer Jere had called for a meeting the day Goodall died (8 August) asking him to endorse Jappie Mhango as his successor. Apparently, Goodall summoned the party legal adviser Charles Mhango to the meeting, which he told them appointments can only be done by the Central Committee of the party.
Charles Mhango said he was engaged, and his number could not be reached later.
After the funeral, Mzomera Ngwira has been visiting several districts in the region to “condole” them on the loss of their vice president and a report by Zodiak Broadcasting Corporation confirmed that during the condolence sessions the name of “Jappie Mhango” has been thrown in as a possible replacement of the Late Goodall.
“They are campaigning over the dead body. He gave us K20,000 as condolence and said the Late Gondwe had endorsed Jappie Mhango as his replacement. We were shocked that within weeks we should be talking about his replacement,” an official in one of the districts told us.
Apart from Mhango, Mganda Chiume and Alfred Gangata are vying for the vice president post. Others in the region are said to be pushing for Charles Mhango or Nkhatabay Central MP Vuwa Kaunda who are seen as more sober and mature. Others are lobbying for the return of former Speaker Richard Msowoya to the party and run as vice president.
Goodall’s fortune, gave money to all parties
Goodall Gondwe was a patriarch of politics in the North, supporting, helping, and financing dozens of politicians from all parties in the region. Many others survived on his alms and found every opportunity to get money from him.
There is a long list of people who permanently and repeatedly “borrowed” money they never intended to repay. At least his close associates say.
Goodall’s fortune is estimated to be anything between K5 billion to K7 billion according to his declaration at Parliament, mainly in properties in Malawi and the United States of America. A few years ago, he reworked his will, according to his family members, and converted it to a Trust.
This includes his farms in Lilongwe, Nkhatabay, and Mchinji.
Editors note: There are several issues that we are investigating in relation to this story. We will be updating as we get more information.