By Robert Tapfumaneyi
SELF-EXILED former Zimbabwe police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has been sucked into a sensational Malawi rigging plot by incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika who is keen to retain his job in the southern African country’s 21 May polls.
The claims were made by Malawi’s vice president and United Transformation Movement (UTM) leader, Saulos Klaus Chilima at a press conference in Lilongwe Sunday morning.
Chilima, who is among eight candidates vying for Malawi’s most coveted job, said Chihuri was hired by Mutharika’s governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) party to train parallel police officers.
According to Chilima, the police officers will pose as genuine officers and do heinous acts in a bid to rig the elections in favour of Mutharika’s party.
“We are saying that Chihuri must leave our country, don’t mess our elections,” Chilima said.
“We will soon be writing to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to elaborate these anomalies so that they can fix them urgently.”
In a statement later Sunday, UTM publicity secretary Joseph Malunga said they have since written to MEC demanding election postponement until Chihuri left their country.
“UTM would like to demand the urgent postponement of the May 21st Tripartite Elections to a later date set by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC),” Malunga said.
“This is due to strong indications plots from ruling DPP and their working mission with Zimbabwe’s former Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri.
“We would further like to demand that MEC facilitates the deportation of this man from Malawi with immediate effect.
“Until MEC, MACRA (Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority) and all stakeholders put their houses in order, our position as a party is that elections must not be held on Tuesday.”
Until President Robert Mugabe’s shock ouster in a military coup November 2017, Chihuri, post-independence Zimbabwe’s longest serving police boss, was regarded as one of the pillars of Mugabe’s once unshakable rule.
Under Chihuri’s leadership, police were forced to cast their votes in front of their partisan superiors while many senior and junior officers were also frustrated out of the force after they were accused of having sympathies with the opposition MDC.
The once influential police boss, an avowed Zanu PF supporter, was also accused of turning a blind eye to rampant acts of torture, rape, arson and murder allegedly by militant Zanu PF supporters on opponents during often bloody election campaigns by Zimbabwe’s ruling party.
Chihuri, who was linked to G40, a Zanu PF faction that was fighting for Mugabe to remain President short of which he passed the baton to his wife, vanished soon after the coup that installed Emmerson Mnangagwa President.
He was reportedly ill in Malawi amid reports he was being sought back home for corruption related offences.
Since then, little has been heard of him.