Outspoken Rumphi East member of Parliament (MP) Kamlepo Kalua (People’s Party) was purportedly found early morning on Sunday by passersby at Kwacha Roundabout in Blantyre following reports by his family on April 29 that the legislator had gone missing. Our reporter AYAMI MKWANDA caught up with him on Monday to explain about his abduction, which other quarters have described as staged.
Tell us more about your abduction
To begin with, how it happened I may not have a clue. You know I was in state of shock. That’s why even Sunday, I was not able to give all the details because that is not a priority to me. What is a priority is that I thank God that I am alive. The way it happened, it is very unfortunate that the police have written that they are coming up with a preliminary investigation when they have not done [investigations]. For the police to come to the scene where I was, it was my family who drove to get them there. It was after interacting with the police officers at Soche Police Unit that my children asked them that I be taken to Blantyre Adventist Hospital, driven by our own vehicle [not Police].
They wanted to admit me but I said I think I was ok. And I went home. I feel I am ok. It was my children who took the hospital report to police. How it happened is that I was in Chileka, touring my construction project. The police say I was last seen there three months ago. You cannot employ somebody and be away for three months. And I am in Blantyre here. So who is paying them if that is true what they are saying. This is not true as I have to regularly go to my place to pay my workers.
These workers need to be paid so that they use the money for transport to their homes. If I went there three months ago, so who is paying them? Again, the police are just contradicting themselves when they say they took me to Naperi Hospital. I was never in Naperi, but Blantyre Adventist Hospital. The police knew that I was at that hospital but they have preferred to lie.
Why do you think you were abducted and who could have abducted you?
The reasons are best known by the abductors, not me. Why on earth did you see the police bringing reports that contradict the events? It’s only here in Malawi. They have staged this abduction to look it staged so that they should say Kamlepo is lying.
On issues they want to lie, they will come up with a report within 24 hours. They have come up with preliminary reports whose results after thorough investigations have been to the contrary. Why are they not coming up with a report on Issa Njauju? Suppose people found me dead, they would have said Kamlepo committed suicide to escape away from the charges of tax evasion. Why are they rushing to make a preliminary report of me barely 24 hours after
finding me? Every time police have wanted to lie, they have rushed to produce reports within short time.
So, you want to tell people that your abduction is politically motivated?
A: Politics were involved when Matafale died. The police said Matafale was sick. Politics were involved in my case. They said I had stolen vehicles from South Africa. Later they said I imported vehicles from South Africa. Politics is at its best here.
Police say you staged your own abduction. What is your take?
Before I go to that scenario, let me ask you. If I am abducted now, after a week, will I look dirty? If I am abducted in this state [pointing at himself] and be in this room can I look dirty? If I shaved yesterday, would I look like this today? The way you see me now I have not bathed today, am I looking dirty?
The police staged the abduction themselves so that it should look like I am the one who staged it. Yesterday, when I was at Soche Police, they didn’t ask me questions of staging an abduction. They are saying that I am risking arrest. So, they have already passed judgement on me before I have even given them my own version. Why should they act accuser and judge at the same time? It’s up to a judge who can find me guilty and not the police.
Can you recollect how you were treated?
That I cannot say because the police are looking for my mistakes to capitalise on them. The police are saying I am buying sympathy. Is buying sympathy a crime? Why should I buy sympathy? I am already popular.
Do you think your abduction is connected to the disagreements you had with Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) over tax evasion perhaps?
There was no disagreement with MRA. They said I bought stolen vehicles. Then, they said I imported those vehicles. I don’t know which is which. But they must come with the details about who complained to police that I stole vehicles. It must be Interpol from South Africa who should have followed with Malawi Police and not MRA. Again, MRA does not check whether the vehicle is stolen or not. They just come to clear the vehicles.
So, what really are you saying?
I am not saying MRA is connected to my abduction. I am yet to find out; to establish why I was abducted and by who. While at Chileka, two people told me to go into their vehicle. They said they were police. I asked them to allow me to call my family but they said we were going to my house in Nkolokosa Township. Then I was whisked into the vehicle. They put a hood on me.
In what state of mind are you?
I can’t tell you the state of mind in which I am. I am not a doctor. I am just in shock but I am not afraid of anyone. What I am saying is that everything just happened when a lot of things were happening to me.
Any parting remarks?
I want to tell the public to question these events. Chasowa’s death report came out after 24 hours; Matafale’s report said he was sick. Every time police come up with reports they end up being lies. MRA went to Times Group media house when they were critical of government. They also went to Boniface Dulani’s office after a research against government. If I had given a version yesterday, I could say they have a basis for their investigations. If this is the way the police are doing their investigations then we have a problem in this county.