By Duncan Mlanjira
Former Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) from 2004-2006, Ishmail Wadi has described head of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) late Bob Mtekama as one tough persevering intellectual in the Malawi Police Service.
Mtekama, who was recently appointed as head of the CID by the new Tonse Alliand-led Government, died on Tuesday at the Seventh Day Adventist and his remains were taken to his home village in Nkhotakota for burial on Wednesday.
His family members said Mtekama succumbing to diabetes and Wadi described his passing on as a sad sudden unexpected departure.
“I first met Bob Mtekama when I served the Government of Republic of Malawi as Director of Public Prosecution in 2004,” writes Wadi on his Facebook page.
“I can testify that he was an intelligent, courageous and well trained cop. He was instrumental in the investigations of many cases from homicide, armed robbery, domestic violence and many more.
“He was the only cop I knew then that had been trained in forensic investigation. After my unceremonious and compelled exit from my post, like many professionals that worked with me, they were psychologically tortured.
“Immediately after my exit, Bob was accused of having links with opposition parties, a false allegation that was intended to have him victimized and frustrated.
“So he was mistreated by the Police Service with for example a posting to general duties to a remote area. There were times he nearly gave up his profession but knowing very well that his skills in investigation were distinctive, I told him to persevere and that good things will come in future.
“The trust is Bob was a professional impartial policeman. He executed his work without fear or favour. The allegations made against him were on the basis of his choice of religion.
“He was a Muslim and some crafty vindictive opportunist saw that as an opportunity to advance their malice and accused him of having links with UDF, the opposition party then.
“This can never be true because the time we worked together, he investigated and arrested prominent persons that were Muslims and others were even convicted.
“But one incident is worth mentioning, that was the savage attack of Sheikh Bughdad of Liwonde, he was stabbed with knives, hacked with pangas by young democrats. He, however, survived the attack but died a year later.
“I had requested Bob to investigate the incident and after a month he reported to me that he had arrested 12 young democrats believed to have been the ones that executed the pre-meditated heinous crime.
“I asked him that the incident happened at night and there was not even available eye witness statement on the file — response amazed me.
“His began be telling me that his investigation revealed that on that night two daughters of the late Sheikh were also gang raped and left a day after for Zambia to seek refuge. He said he followed them to Zambia and interrogated them as they were eye witnesses and also managed to get hints.
“He explained that Sheikh Bughdad supported NDA and the violence was linked to his political opinion. He then looked at who were the likely adversaries to his opinion and looked at the prominent members of the then ruling political party and even looked at their bank accounts and come across a transaction of a senior politician which revealed a payment of MK300,000 made at the same time and cashed at the counter at a bank in the district.
“He said he interrogated the person who received the cheque and he revealed that it had been shared amongst 12 persons from the same area but denied involvement and also that the payment was in relation to crime.”
Wadi continues to say that Mtekama had the timing of the payment, the number of people that benefited and the proximity was very suspicious and he arrested all of them.
“The suspects were of different religious faith but majority were Muslims. So I was able to deduce that Bob was impartial in his work and did not favour persons of his faith.
“To this, I call upon persons in various institutions and the general public to stop attacking and making empty allegations of others on grounds of their choice of religion as well as level of practice and commitment.
“This should also extend to atheists, do not victimise them for their choice. Let us mature in our thinking and be tolerant in our actions, voices and ink or typing.
“Because we are of different denominations, it means from Friday to Sunday we congregate with one intention to worship God, our creator. Lets us learn to celebrate our diversity and not to undermine it.
“Because of the oppression and victimization that was unleashed against Bob, he shared me his views that he wanted to study law in Zanzibar, as part of his career advancement and he also did not hide that he wanted an opportunity to distress and to breathe some fresh air as he was undergoing through maximum dosage of oppression intended to force him to give up on his career.
“I encouraged him and told him not to give up but persevere and Zanzibar University was the right choice to the university.
True to my words, the new Government recognized him as a rare distinctive fearless detective and quickly restored to him to the right position. But just like what I have gone through, all these negativity inevitably triggers background stress and stress comes with a package of health problems.
“Bob developed High Blood Pressure and Diabetes — and that condition is not easy to manage.
“I have shared this with you so that before our brother is laid to rest, we should have a moment to feel the pains and agony our brother Bob went through so that we can take an initiative to stop causing pain to others that are still living and I equally shared his struggle so that we can be encouraged not to give up on our dreams and the story of his strict professionalism so that we can also be inspired to success.
“Success does not come easy and sometimes it comes with hardship and the medicine is endurance, perseverance, to stay strong and positive and if it gets worse, not hesitate to seek refuge in other positive things and not to allow frustration take you to excessive alcohol and sometimes violence.
I write this full of tears because Bob has gone too soon. Gone at the most critical time. Gone before he could enjoy the final fruits of his hard work.
“I would also want to use this opportunity to invite everyone to be a Vigilant Citizen and demand for functional independence of various institutions of Government and to have strict checks against political interference, oppression and arbitrariness and further protect the many professionals that are subjected to abuse and mistreatment simply for doing the correct thing.”
Wadi then applauded Malawi Law Society and the general public for standing their ground to defend the independence of the office of the Chief Justice from interference with the tenure of officer and that the public vigilance must continue.
“Rest in Peace my dear brother,” Bob Mtekama signed off Wadi.
In response, journalist Limbani Moya said he interacted with Mtekama during the Bughdad case in Liwonde whilst working with Blantyre Newspapers Limited.
“I also dealt with him over the infamous Macholowe armed robberies cases. Bob was no nonsense detective who got to the bottom of complicated cases.”
Martha Chizuma said she was still failing to come to terms with this death.
“I got to interact him more last year. On some investigation I did at Malawi Human Rights Commission. I got to appreciate what a giant investigator he was.
“After that he would call just to check on me. Three days ago I texted on him to just encourage him. What a loss. What a timing!
“May the good Lord remember his right heart and all he did for this nation.”
Redson Munlo agreed with Wadi, saying the country has lost a very fine policeman — a top-notch investigator and a consummate professional.
Phileas Chienda applauded Wadi for the moving eulogy, saying: “It is really refreshing to see that we have still a few members of the public who appreciate what some people have done faithfully in Government.”
While Wezzie Kamanga Mwalweni said this was an eulogy befitting a top-notch investigator.
“Bob was a remarkable man, with distinctive skills and determination to execute justice. His demise is huge loss to his family but also to the nation especially at this critical moment where corruption and murder cases are being investigated. Only God knows why? RIP sir.”