Detective Mtekama's funeral ignores COVID-19 measures

Bob Mtekama

Malawi`s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Chief late Bob Mtekama was on Wednesday laid to rest at his home, Nkhono Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Malengachanzi in Nkhotakota without police funeral drill.

However, hundreds of mourners thronged the village to give their last respects to the highly respected departed police officer with no observance of Covid-19 preventive measures by majority of them. 

A Press Release from National Police Headquarters signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO) had indicated that while in hospital, the deceased had tested positive for COVID-19 besides other underlying health problems.

But contrary to common burial practice in similar cases, where hospital staff have been taking a leading role, locals buried Mtekama with no police funeral drill as is normally done when a serving officer dies.  

Malawi Police Service (MPS) National spokesperson, James Kadadzera confirmed authoring the press release in an interview, but could not be drawn into commenting on what transpired during burial.

“I authored a press release on the same indicating that the late Mtekama was diabetic, had High Blood Pressure (BP) and tested positive to Covid-19. Whatever happened during his burial is not for police to comment on,” said Kadadzera.

On failure to accord the departed Mtekama police funeral drill honors, Kadadzera said it was part of the Covid-19 preventive measures.

Officials at Nkhotakota District Hospital could not be reached for comment on the matter.

But sources at the hospital confided that the facility did not receive a formal communication to make burial arrangements.

Nkhotakota was one of the districts to report a COVID-19 case outside the main cities.