Veteran politician Gwanda Chakuamba struggling financially
Veteran politician Gwanda Chakuamba is struggling to live a normal life due to financial problems in his old age and has sent a save our souls (SOS) call to well-wishers for assistance.
The Nation yesterday caught up with Chakuamba, 81, at his abode in Chimwankhunda Dam Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) residential estate in Blantyre where he revealed he is living under constant threats of eviction as well as disconnection of water and electricity.
He said: “They [MHC officials] came threatening to seal the house and I wondered where I would live. I also have problems with water and electricity bills. But for more you can talk to [Moses] Dossi.”
Dossi, a former Cabinet minister in the Bakili Muluzi administration who was in company with Chakuamba at the time of the interview, said as a veteran politician, Chakuamba deserves assistance from the State to lead a normal life.
Said Dossi: “We should not wait for someone to die then assist with an expensive coffin. He should have a house to live in, mobility in the form of a vehicle and about K300 000 [$600] or K400 000 [$800 per month.”
In his prime as a politician, Chakuamba held various Cabinet portifolios in the one-party State of founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda from the late 1960s to 1980 when he was arrested and charged with treason. He was released in 1993 after the dawn of plural politics through a national referendum.
After his release, Chakuamba rejoined Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and served in a three-member presidential council that managed State affairs after Kamuzu was taken ill.
After the 1994 general elections won by the first post-independence multiparty president Bakili Muluzi and his United Democratic Front (UDF), Chakuamba became leader of opposition in Parliament. He later served as Cabinet minister in Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration in 2004.
Before his arrest, Chakuamba owned several properties, including Mount Pleasant No 1 house, Milare house, one house each in Chigumula and Nyambadwe in Blantyre, an inn in Mangochi and a number of farms.
“I had loans with the banks and after the arrest, they [banks] took everything. Currently, I have nothing,” said Chakuamba.
During the interview, Chakuamba also said that while his United States of America-based children occasionally assist him, the assistance is not enough to keep him going.
The veteran politician, who is not in good health, underwent medical treatent in South Africa.
Chakuamba claimed President Peter Mutharika assured him of support, saying: “The President told me that I will only die because of God’s will, but not lack of medication. He then sent me to South Africa to seek medical help and I am grateful to him.”
Meanwhile, Dossi has written Mutharika asking him to assist Chakuamba.
Dossi said Chakuamba would like to personally thank the President for medical assistance.
State Residences chief of staff Peter Mukhito last evening said there are systems followed regarding handling of letters addressed to the President and that only his secretary can know about them; hence, could not confirm or deny receipt of Dossi’s letter.