Ex-minister kills himself at Malawi's parliament building

·2 min read

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — A former government minister in Malawi killed himself at the parliament building with a pistol he concealed in his wheelchair to get past security, police and parliament officials said Friday.

Clement Chiwaya, 50, who also was a former deputy parliament speaker, shot himself in the head Thursday in front of parliament clerk Fiona Kalemba in her office, authorities said.

Police said a note Chiwaya wrote before the suicide referred to his two-year argument with parliament officials over who should pay for crash damage to his vehicle.

In the note, Chiwaya complained that he had been “begging” for parliament to replace his damaged vehicle, which he insisted it was required to do. A court also ruled parliament should replace the vehicle.

He had bought the vehicle in 2019 from parliament at the end of his five-year term as a lawmaker but officials delayed in transferring ownership to him, leading to the insurance being invalid at the time of the crash six months later.

The vehicle was modified to allow Chiwaya, who had polio as a child, to drive it.

"I am not a violent person. While it would have been easier to hurt others with the means I have, I don’t want that to be my legacy,” read the note confirmed by police.

“Parliament feels they have the audacity to deny me what belongs to me and I have to go and beg them. I have had enough of that. With a fully loaded gun I could have killed these people, but I will go alone,” the note said.

The suicide note was found on Chiwaya's cellphone, and he sent it to the parliament clerk on WhatsApp moments before killing himself in front of her, police said.

In a statement, parliament said Chiwaya had set off alarms when he passed through metal detectors at the entrance of the building in the capital city of Lilongwe, but security personnel thought it was his wheelchair and didn't search him or the chair. Parliament said it would enhance security around the building.

Gregory Gondwe, The Associated Press

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