Malawi: Mtekama Burial Ignores Covid-19 Protocols As Hundreds Attend

7 August 2020

Malawi Police Service Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director late Bob Mtekama was on Wednesday laid to rest at his home, Nkhono Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Malengachanzi in Nkhotakota without following Covid-19 protocols as hundreds of mourners thronged to give their last respects.

National Police Headquarters spokesperson James Kadadzera in a statement indicated that while at Blantyre Adventist Hospital, Mtekama had tested positive to Covid-19 and with an underlying condition of diabetes.

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

"Whatever happened during his burial is not for police to comment on," said Kadadzera.

The body was taken from Blantyre to Nkhotakota - a distance of about 400 kilometers - for burial despite dying of Covid-19.

Besides, some family members in Covid-19 isolation centres were allowed to attend the burial ceremony of their loved one, contrary to standards set by health authorities.

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

There was no comment from Nkhotakota District Hospital on the matter.

Mtekama was a respectable cop and tributes have been pouring in from many Malawians on social media.

Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda said Mtekama's death was a great loss to the country owing to his great contributions to the police service.

Mtekama joined Malawi Police Service in 1992 and before his recent appointment as head of the CID, he served as Limbe Police Station officer-in-charge.

He studied criminal law at the University of Zanzibar and was the only Malawian police officer trained in forensic science by the University of Malawi's College of Medicine.

He was also trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the US.

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