Malawian MP commits suicide in the country’s Parliament building

In his suicide note, Chiwaya said he was tired of begging for what belonged to him.

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A prominent former Malawian Member of Parliament, Clement Chiwaya, shot himself dead at the country’s Parliament offices on Thursday. Local media says that Chiwaya entered the office of the clerk of parliament on Thursday and shot himself with the clerk watching.

Clement Chiwaya, who had been using a wheelchair since he contracted polio at the age of two, served as deputy speaker between 2014 and 2019. In a note he left before he went to parliament in the capital Lilongwe, he wrote about a dispute he had with parliament over the ownership of a specially adapted vehicle.

After losing an election in the past, Chiwaya began a process to allow him to buy the car provided by the country’s parliament, that he said enabled him to drive despite his disability. He paid for the vehicle but he accused the parliament of failing to transfer ownership. In a statement released after his death, the speaker’s office said that the matter was still in court.

In his suicide note, Chiwaya said he was tired of begging for what belonged to him and said he took his own life for fear of “hurting others.”

“Is this life worth living. Probably yes to others. For me the fact that I have taken the issue to various people and I am forced to be begging them to do something is really depressing. I don’t have any more energy to carry on.” said part of Chiwaya’s suicide note.

Mr Chiwaya, born in 1971, became a disability rights activist and successfully ran as a Member of Parliament (MP) three times. He served as the MP for Magochi Central Constituency for 15 years under the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Police officials say they are now investigating how he was able to enter the parliament building with a loaded pistol, yet it is usually under heavy security. The speaker’s office reportedly said that security officials at the building thought that it was Chiwaya’s wheelchair that triggered the metal detectors at the entry checking point of the building.

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