Malawi minister commits suicide after losing parliamentary seat

2014-05-22 12:47

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Blantyre – A Malawian deputy minister committed suicide, apparently after losing his parliamentary seat in this week’s general election.

Malawian media reported today that outgoing deputy Local Government Minister Godfrey Kamanya shot himself at his home.

The official results of Tuesday’s election are still to be announced. But preliminary election results aired on radio stations indicated that Kamanya was faring badly in the poll and was likely to lose his parliamentary seat.

In a suicide note now held by police, Kamanya reportedly said he took his life because of misunderstandings related to politics. He also outlined how his wealth would be distributed and asked incumbent President Joyce Banda, under whom he served, to help pay the school fees for his child.

“We had to break the door to his kitchen where he had locked himself up,” said Kamanya’s friend Jemoth Chilapondwa, who is also a member of Banda’s People’s Party.

“We found him lying dead in a pool of blood. Police will do their investigations and are the ones who can disclose more on this,” Chilapondwa said.

Kamanya’s death is a blow to Banda, who is facing three strong candidates in the tightly contested poll. They are Peter Mutharika, brother of late president Bingu wa Mutharika; Lazarus Chakwera, an evangelical pastor; and Atupele Muluzi, son of former president Bakili Muluzi.

Nearly 1 300 candidates contested the 194 seats in parliament. Several broadcasters said Mutharika and Chakwera had taken an early lead.

Banda’s rule has been tainted by a massive corruption scandal known as Cashgate, which led to donors slashing aid that had made up 40% of Malawi’s budget. Voting ended officially on Tuesday, but some people were still casting their ballots today at polling stations which had opened late.

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