Africa-Press – Zambia. AS various theories regarding the death of Levy Mkandawire continue being shared and debated, a profile, albeit a scanty one, is emerging of the woman who was behind the wheels of the BMW X5 which caused the death of the Kabwata Member of Parliament.
The Daily Mail has learnt that Mr Mkandawire was not the only victim of the woman’s driving on Thursday although he was the most unfortunate. A moment before Janet Mwale, who has since handed herself over to police, bashed the MP, she had first hit into Shadrick Phiri, a domestic worker in the neighbourhood, and sped off without stopping.
Mr Phiri narrated that he was sent to buy eggs at a nearby shop when a speeding vehicle hit into his bicycle from behind. “I was riding along Chalata Road when the same vehicle that killed honourable Mkandawire later hit me from behind. I fell to the ground, but that vehicle did not stop,” he said.
“‘Luckily, I wasn’t injured in any way. I stood up to pick up the bicycle and the next thing I heard was a loud bang. When I looked in front to see what had happened, the vehicle that nearly crashed me had overturned after hitting the honourable’s car, which was parked at his gate.
“The way the driver of that vehicle sped off after hitting me was so shocking. How can one have the zeal to drive like that in a residential area where we have children playing around?”
Mr Phiri is employed by Josphat Chasaya, who resides at 32 Chalata Road, Woodlands Extension, which was the address initially given by police as the residence for Ms Mwale and her husband, Alick Kalenga, who was with her when she bashed Mr Mkandawire.
Now Mr Chasaya says he is living in fear of being attacked by angry United Party for National Development (UPND) members who may be thinking he is the one who was in the vehicle with Ms Mwale.
“Police were given a wrong house number, some media even went on to report that the accident was caused by one of the late honourable’s neighbours, they all think it is me,” he said.
“We are spotting a lot of people outside my gate trying to confirm this house number. Those people live off Chalata Road, please. I do not want myself or my household to be harmed for a crime we haven’t committed.
“I am living in fear right now because I don’t know what the cadres are thinking or what they will do to me and my family.”
Mr Chasaya said police have not been helpful. He appealed to the UPND leadership to see what they can do to protect him as some overzealous cadres could just pounce on him.
“I reported the matter to police to seek protection but was told they are understaffed,” he said. “Imagine, I rushed to the police to seek help, I am in despair, I fear for my life and want protection and then one police officer pulls me aside to ask me for a tip, all they want is money and bribes from victims of circumstances, this must come to an end, the police service is completely the opposite of what we expect.”
A check at House No. 32 off Chalata Road, which is the residence for Mr Kalengo and his wife, revealed that the place has been deserted for now. One of their neighbours said on the day of the accident, the couple was taking their four-year-old child who was unwell to the hospital.
“We know this road as Bulaya Road and what I can say is that they were three in the vehicle, the husband, wife and their child, we saw them leave their house for the hospital and within a few minutes, we just heard people saying they were involved in an accident that killed the MP,” the neighbour said.
“They haven’t lived here for long, they shifted to this place about five months ago. What we know is that they have been building their house in bits and they finally decided to move in.”
Another neighbour said the couple is normally seen driving around the neighbourhood together. “They enjoy drinking together and they are usually seen at Boarder View,” the neighbour said.
Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said Ms Mwale surrendered herself to Woodlands Police yesterday morning. “Both the husband and wife are in custody and investigations have continued,” Mr Hamoonga said. Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) said preliminary investigations indicate that the accident was caused due to excessive speeding by Ms Mwale.
“The investigation has further established that the driver of the BMW X5 holds a valid driving licence and the RTSA motor vehicle register indicates that the vehicle in question, BMW X5 registration number ALM5955, is registered under Eliza Kapaba of Lusaka with expired road tax and motor insurance,” RTSA public relations manager Frederick Mubanga said in a statement.
And former President Edgar Lungu has sent a message of condolences to President Hakainde Hichilema on the death of Mr Mkandawire. “I call on all mourners in grief and disbelief to mourn the deceased with dignity and respect,” Mr Lungu stated.