Rage and Waste: how Chakwera’s Police have blown K250m chasing critics

…7 Area 30 officers on the road since Chilima’s burial

…over 36 arrests and cases of intimidation drain taxpayers’ money

President Lazarus Chakwera’s obsession with arresting and intimidating his critics into silence in the past four years is costing taxpayers cash and security, as the meagre police resources, estimated at up to K250 million, are said to have been blown by the Malawi Police Service.

During one of the court cases the MPS Mobile force is seen at the High courts in Lilongwe

The Investigator Magazine can reveal that seven Police officers dubbed as “MCP Youth League” have been on the road since the death of vice president Saulos Chilima hunting for “social media critics” and the operation is costing as much as K1 million a day and it is not known as to when it will end.

Topping the list of costs is Bon Kalindo, whose 16 arrests so far have seen him being the President’s guest at all Police stations, including Salima, Mangochi, Zomba, Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Dwangwa in Nkhoatakota, among others.

Fuel, allowances, and man hours are being claimed, and mysterious amounts ranging between K5 and K10 million have been withdrawn from Police coffers for “special operations” led by senior officials who allegedly share the loot—even when they don’t travel to the operation sites.

Kalindo jail jamboree costs taxpayers over K100 million

At the minimum of K5 million, Malawi Police travel to arrest, zig-zag and move Bon Kalindo. The 16 times he has been the guest of the police service means K80 million or K160 million, according to Area 30 sources who claim bosses, too, receive allowances while seated in Lilongwe.

Kalindo has been in bad books for criticising the President over his own promises

Kalindo’s woes with President Chakwera started when he started criticising his administration’s failures and later mobilised people to a demonstration. Suddenly, Police remembered he had made inciting remarks during an interview with Rainbow TV—a station also closed at Chakwera’s orders. Rainbow was criticising the regime.

The Police have said that under the MCP regime, they are having very different experiences. The service has become unnerving and highly unpredictable. For others, the risk of being fired and transferred is now common, while those specially selected officers to hunt Kalindo are swimming in cash and plunder.

Since 2021, Kalindo has been arrested during demonstrations in Zomba, Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mangochi, with Police officers travelling 300 to 400km from Lilongwe to arrest him, drive him another 200km to Nkhunga in Dwangwa, only to do another 200km to bring him to Lilongwe again.

Kalindo has been arrested for an illegal connection of power in Area 25, he has been arrested for claiming to know albino killers, and he has been arrested for almost just opening his mouth.

Chilima’s spying operation could cost more

Police officers are now spending more hours- not protecting citizens but- spying on them, especially after the death of the vice president, where the pro-MCP police services are now spending hours monitoring social media and eavesdropping on Whatsapp groups.

“They are being beefed up by National Intelligence Services (NIS), and a few prominent social media users and political activists are already on the list,” revealed our source.

the police arrested Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua for audio that made rounds stating the plane never reached Mzuzu

Already, Kalindo, Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua, and Livingstonia Synod CCAP cleric Kondwani Chambirima Gondwe are the first three arrested leaders regarding their reaction to Chilima’s death, but dozens are on the card; only the blunder over Kalua stalled it.

In a tragic turn of unprofessional Police, without investigating, the police arrested Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua for audio that made rounds stating the plane never reached Mzuzu. This fact is now inevitable as the government is running away from setting a public inquiry, which would expose flows in President Lazarus Chakwera’s address on June 10, 2024, which has been debunked as largely factual.

The voice note was Reverend Chimbirima’s arrest in Mzuzu and subsequent transfer to Lilongwe stirred the church to send particular messages of prayer, rousing more anger among the faithful and making the government look like it is hiding something that the public should not ask questions.

Kamelpo was released on Police bail after being searched and transported to almost 400km from Blantyre to Namitete in Lilongwe before he was taken 66km to Lumbadzi and then another 29 kilometres to Lilongwe Police, only to be given bail.

“If you call any Police station, they will tell you they have no fuel. But when it comes to arresting perceived enemies of the state, you will be a priority. There is excitement in allowances, fuel, and other unknown things. Imagine fuel for two or three land cruisers driving 500km in one weekend from Blantyre to Dwangwa, then to Lilongwe, and add they had to drive 350km to get to him,” said another senior police officer.

The operation, according to Area 30 sources, is ongoing.

MBC phone probe had a big budget

The police special operations team, which operates like the notorious one-party special branch, was engaged again, and money was spent for close to a month investigating whether they operated a Facebook page drawn from the Police Service.

Mr Chapita was arrested together with other MBC staff members over a fake Facebook page

“Some went to Mzuzu and some to Blantyre, all because of the Facebook page; they could have used Police in Blantyre, but the selected party officers in Police do all the jobs so that questions about fuel and allowances are contained among the loyalists only,” explained a Police investigations officer.

The Facebook page hunt yielded zero results, and a few arrested were left Scott free.

Budgets spread to South Africa, everywhere, but no single case won

The President’s hunt for critics has yet to yield results and now is being used as a cash cow for the Malawi Police Service. The tactic is to scare Malawians to keep quiet- a challenging order with the emergence of digital platforms.

“Every arrest is not only a waste of public space but damages Malawi’s status as a democracy. MCP has the worst record, and either the Police are doing it ignorantly or deliberately to damage the already damaged reputation of the president who doesn’t like to be criticised but can’t perform,” said an activist in Lilongwe.

Police say there have been budgets to target Malawians, especially Bakili Muluzi TV and Limpopo FM owners in South Africa, and the people were being promised 1 million South African rand (K133 million) to identify their whereabouts.

So far, all cases, including those of other activists arrested under the regime, have never been concluded, and the government has lost one case against Kalindo.

The Investigator Magazine did not contact the Police as they do not answer our queries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *