Here we go again: Tenthani’s Muckracking on Malawi Police IG

“Silence is golden  when you can’t  think of a good answer” -Muhammad Ali

If there is one Inspector General of Police who came to Area 30 with pomp and ceremony it was Paul Kanyama.

IG Kanyama: Criminals in Malawi Police Service to be dealt with

IG Kanyama: Criminals in Malawi Police Service to be dealt with

Look, if Peter Mukhito was the ‘best IG ever’ in the books of the departed Big Kahuna, Paul Kanyama would certainly pass off as the ‘most talkative IG ever’. Sometime he could overshoot his mouth, dabbling in political stuff that certainly put him on the collision course with politicians on the opposite side of the political divide.

Right off the bat he made all the right noises about putting the underworld on notice that there is a new cop in town. The ‘honeymoon is over’ statement from Kanyama was timely.

Indeed there have been some brazen criminal acts that went right to the top of the food chain, as it were. Imagine, these societal misfits had the audacity of clambering over the Vice President’s well-fortified wall in Blantyre and invaded his wine cellar.

Lucky enough the Second Family was not in residence.

Saulos Chilima’s cabinet colleague Atupele Muluzi was not as lucky. The bad guys beat the security system and scared the hell out of the minister and his wife, Angela, right in their bedroom.

That tells you how security has gone to the dogs…quite literary. If these hoodlums can burrow through the security mesh of whole cabinet members, with their round-the-clock armed security, how safe is my mum in Area 36 or Chitawira who is guarded by only a club-carrying old man?

So Paul Kanyama’s tough talk was more than reassuring. Although he goes down as the shortest-serving IG in our history (even Mary Nangwale, Malawi first-female IG, served a bit longer), there have been a number of successes. Of course, there seems to have been an eerie unannounced return of that unofficial ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy championed by Bingu. Quite a few miscreants have been prematurely despatched back to their maker, thanks to Kanyama’s cops.

But, largely, either most of the bad guys did not hear Kanyama’s warning or they ignored him as one of those empty loudmouths for the brazen robberies continued unabated. They even reached the IG’s own doorsteps as one of his boys was killed in cold blood during a bank heist in Blantyre recently.

But all these were happening while Kanyama was not formally appointed for he needed a parliamentary nod before he became a substantive top cop.

And that parliamentary process, though briefly disrupted by the Parliament support staff industrial action, started in earnest this week.

But Kanyama seems to have pulled the rug right under the honourable folks in the China-built edifice in Lilongwe by announcing he was quitting the job he so celebrated only a few months ago.

The top cop cites ill-health, diabetes et al. He even volunteered some very private details about his health.

Of course, it is not a crime to fall ill. All of us, despite our station in life, fall ill once in a while. Did you think the ambulance that always makes the presidential convoy is for ‘in-transit’ ablution only? It is there to take care of the big man in case his heart starts behaving funny or his blood pressure suddenly starts acting up.

So the Muckraker cannot fault Kanyama that his health failed him. Unlike some people in public life who think falling sick is only for us, wanachis, at least Kanyama has been open, even needlessly disclosing some salient details about his sickness.

But, wait a minute, some of these age or life-style ailments do not come out of the blues. Once you hit half a century, no matter how fit or healthy you keep yourself, you always have to battle cardiac, BP or diabetes issues. Of course, the more privileged you are the more manageable these issues become.

So when he was being appointed last November, Kanyama should have had an idea of the state of his health. When he was being appointed IG, he was already deep in the management of the Malawi Police Service so his elevation to the top seat could not have added undue pressure on him.

So I would like to believe Kanyama was aware of his health status and he was convinced he was up to the task ahead of him.

Otherwise, if he knew he was a sick man, he would have told the appointing authority, “Thanks, but, no thanks, Your Excellency.”

In any case, unlike other public appointments whose bearers only hear about them from the radio, Kanyama was told prior to the announcement. I should know; I was there when on November 24, 2014, Peter Mutharika announced that Lot Dzonzi was resigning and Kanyama was being elevated to the top job.

Which opens up to speculations that Kanyama threw in the towel because of his education or lack there-of. That, I must say, would be very unfortunate. Kanyama is a career cop who rose through the ranks since joining the service in 1978. He served all Malawi’s five presidents and rose to the rank of Commissioner of Police, the highest professional rank in the service, the rest above that rank are political appointments.

Any Commissioner of Police qualifies to be considered for the position of IG, so Kanyama was duly qualified. MPs, for lack of a better adjective, could have been stupid to fail to confirm him because of the level of his formal education.

I recall it was MacWilliam Lunguzi who started recognising formal education as a basis for promotion, even recruitment. That is why he had the likes of Lot Dzonzi and Gustave Kaliwo as his blue-eyed boys.

But still Lunguzi never ignored professionalism, that is why people like Kanyama were still rising up the rungs in the services regardless of their humble formal education.

Besides, I have spoken to quite a few officers who have worked under Kanyama. Almost all attest to Kanyama’s professionalism. He is a lion in the service, one of them actually said.

So why then did Paul Kanyama quit his seat on that Second Floor at Area 30?

Perhaps the opposition-dominated Parliament could have really rejected his appointment based on his humble educational qualifications. That could have been sad for there has to be a critical balance between formal education and track record as a professional cop.

But let us, for the sake of argument, accept that the top cop indeed resigned due to ill-health. What does that say about how we make our appointments? I would have thought background checks, which includes using Nicholas Dausi’s sleuths to check the candidate’s person, and actual consultations are key.

I would imagine my good friend Lot’s departure from Area 30 could have been delayed as government was hunting for the right replacement. If Kanyama was honestly assessed, both clandestinely and directly, his health situation could have triggered some red lights. In any case, Kanyama was not desperate for a job; the guy was already due for retirement for goodness’ sake!

Kanyama personally admits he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008, way before he even became Deputy IG. He actually discloses that his condition started deteriorating by October last year.

So by the time he was being appointed in November he could have known how he was coping with the condition. In any case his doctors could have advised him whether or not it was safe for him to accept such a “demanding and stressful job”, as he himself pits it.

So who has goofed in this yet another ‘mis-appointment’?

Why are we always fumbling these appointments? The other day we made my good president cartoon himself by appointing more heads than necessary to some boards.

Now here we are embarrassing the old man by making him appoint a sick man to a sensitive, demanding and stressful job.

When are we going to learn to do things right?

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38 thoughts on “Here we go again: Tenthani’s Muckracking on Malawi Police IG”

  1. Limi says:

    Point taken, Tenthani. These appointments must be taken seriously, and dealt with more scrupulously. We are not spoilt for choice in Malawi, regarding educated professionals, many leave looking for better opportunities. But for the most part can Government put in the effort to appoint fully eligible candidates, taking into consideration their health, education et al. Yes we understand that these prominent positions are reserved for those in good standing with the President. But as stated earlier, at least make sure they are fully eligible. Otherwise you waste time reappointing new faces, even over appointing as pointed out in the article.

  2. EYE WITNESSES says:

    MDF Vowed to degrade him from all angles if he did not retire ir die

  3. zion says:

    Bring Binali back from Mozambique.

  4. KASIYAMALIRO says:

    Ralph, could an insider in the Public Appointments Committee have given an advance information of the likelihood of a VETO from Parliament? Kanayama could have taken a technical decision based on a well informed and counselled advice. I am puzzeled by the sudden change of events.. a very celebrated appointment… new strategic planning within the Police Service,an almost celebrated state of temporal security and a sudden resignation. I suspect a rat!
    Comrades, it is the duty of journalists to send us thinking.They do not sometimes have the whole truth.However, they provoke discussion and debate. Some folks take it on the Muckracker personally. Truth stands the test of time and quite often for most of us: it HURTS! bravo Ralph.

  5. Law-abider says:

    Kodi lamulo ndiye adzingopanga aliyense? Kwalifikeshenzi Za Ma Mp Ena Nde Bola Kanyamayo. Ntchito Amyidziwa. Tamapangani Zokonza Dziko. Nthawi Zina Pepala Siligwira Ntchito. Winawe Uli Ku Palament Chifukwa Chongodziwa Kulankhula ENG. Basi. Palibiletu Nchimodzi Chomwe Ukuchita Chothandiza Ku Dela Lako. Kanyamayo Ntchito Satha? Chizungu Salankhula? Kudzikonda Eti?

  6. gondwe says:

    Mr Tenthani, please learn to write proper Oxford English in your articles. You lack proper grammar as is in the UK. Your articles are always a laughing-stock. kkkkkkkkk. Nyau-chi-english

  7. Mngoni weniweni says:

    On education side, if we can compare today’s graduate with an MSCE holder of Kamuzu era, surely, those days people were equipped with knowledge not zongoloweza kuti adzakhoze mayeso we experience nowadays. To be fair, Kanyama deserved that post!!!!!

  8. Busy brains says:

    @ tuvitwana, Mr Kanyama is from the central region, Dedza to be specific. You see, as earlier alluded by abiti nyono, the president choose somebody from the other region so that he may not be seen as favouring his home boys only. But these MCP dogs never saw the importance of having Mr Kanyama as an IG. Mumati a Mlakho ndi a tumbuka ndi odzikonda, but you have failed to love your own home boy! Dzitsiru dza anthu!!!!

  9. mtima wa nyani says:

    nde iiiiiii mukayamba ya ma kwalifikeshoni nde ma bwana ambili acokatu, amikhala kale kale ife ti sande 8 iwo alipobe pano tufuna kupuma ncito.kkkkkk mbwerera a mw simutha kulumikiza kuona pamelela mncila.timakhala ngati a mw ndife mahule, kusakumbukila pa dzana . timmamvumbuluka.
    kale lija timati 4 ex ku ma bank, edimaki nde kuti nkwa acina masikus, kazombos.kwanunkhatondes kadzamilas, kulemekas,etc the line is long ana awo kummalowa olo wa JC pano ndi ma bwana sangasintheso ncito tinena pano. nde munena za ce kanyama uyu kuti za MSCE- ????????? ILI NDE BODZA MWASOWA NKHANI. MMA EMBASY MULI ACINA UJENI OMWE TIMATI NGOKUMANA NDIAZUNGU KUMATILANKHULILA , IWO ANAPITA KAMBA NDI AZAWO A UJENI. KAMBA INA APA NKHANI.
    BWANA APM IKUUZENI MMPHEPO KUTI MWAKHALA UIPATU APA. NNAMPAZAMO INE TIKUMVA

  10. mwewo woyiba says:

    A KANYAMA AFULUMIRA KUCHITA RESIGN. MA MP OMWE AKUSOKOSERA ALIBE NGAKHALE CERTIFICATE YA FORM 4. ANGOTSUTSAPO KUTI AZITI. MA MP AMBIRI OTSUTSA NDI OLAMULA NDI MBUZI PA MAPHUNZIRO ASIMANYADA.

  11. Mphwache says:

    Well, what do you do as a Presidential appointee, when some clever dick criminal decides to manipulate you and hold you to ransom for something done in your previous life. Ahhaaaaa.

    1. He should have known his hands are blood stained n it never goes away without paying a very high price.

  12. Getrude Ishmael says:

    There are so many things that need to be fixed about putting things to positions. But before that, I think the muckraker is wrong to say that the pressure on the Deputy Inspector General ( who is one of two people) is no different from the pressure of an Inspector general. History has shown that there have been GIGs in the past who have been mere figureheads, barely recognised as having been there at all.

    When you get to IG, you know that the buck stops with you ( to borrow the words of President Harry Truman). All the rights and wrongs done or not done by the police are blamed on the IG, so the pressure is 10 times that of the Deputy IG. imagine most people here think the only Deputy IG out there is Rodney Jose, when Lexon Kachama ( who is likely to replace Kanyama) is there as DIG Administration.
    Back to the topic of vetting before choosing, we need to start with mandatory Physical check ups for all our serious presidential hopefuls. Did we not hear from the Midnight 8 report that Bingu had a minor heart attack in 2009? If it wasn’t for that report, that would have been a mere rumour. The US President has a regular ( I think annual) medical check up whose results Americans are privy to. Of course Ronald Reagan had been developing Alzheimer’s while in office and was only discovered late after he left office, but at least there’s an effort to be open.

    On the issue of education, half the people who were given the decision to accept or reject Kanyama got into the house not even with an MSCE, but since even that requirement was watered down, a mere ability to converse in English, no matter how shoddy, qualifies them.
    There are so many officers in the force who have no university degrees but are damn good cops, which calls for the need to mix the graduates with the non graduates. After all, kodi these cash gate thieves, achina Mphwiyo, ralph and them lot, aren’t they educated people with degrees? Does it make them better at their job? Lets vet our public officers thoroughly but requiring that they all be graduates will result in losing so much talent which has taken decades to train like Paul Kanyama.

  13. Dick says:

    I CAN RECOMMEND MARY NANGWALE FOR THE POST

  14. nganga says:

    Our bwamps owez mekn blanders.

  15. Mr Tenthani this is well put, it is more than embarrassing, i think it has to make us fear.

  16. Abiti Nyono says:

    Ma MP a MCP kukana inspector general from central region. Post imeneyo tikatenga ife alomwe muyambe kubwetuka zambiri pomwe inu mukukanana nokha nokha. Achikumbe mudzichangamuka tulo basi ta nthawi ya Kamuzu.

    1. Achimidzimidzi says:

      IG does not serve one region only. Therefore no one should be confirmed based on place of origin. That’s wrong mentality.

      Its competence what matters, because he is supposed to serve the whole nation.

      Do you come from the south? Appoint one from your region, but he will be operating from your Blantyre Police Station not from Police Headquarters, Area 30.

  17. bongozozo says:

    Can someone share with me the education background of Kanyama? If he has an MSCE then I deem him very qualified considering his vast experience. Should I be made to think he holds a JCE? This should then be a lesson to all our cops whose education backgrounds are poor. Go to school. Its never too late.

  18. Aidgate says:

    Blunder after blunder is the order of the day with Matanyula’s administration…….talk reforms kikikikikikikiki

  19. Daniel Phiri says:

    Kanyama Anali partisan chi plant cha DPP. Ankanena za boma la PP kuti ndiloyipa. Kuyiwala kuti adzafuna Ena mwa ma MP a PP wo. When you are living in a glass house don’t throw stones.

  20. Mr Ibu says:

    form two guy for IG , what a joke !!!!

  21. Liberalist says:

    Our Presidents in this think using their fingers or their feet. Check all the appointments made by Muluzi, Bingu, JB & Peter now they appoint things like Chiefs as Chairpersons of boards which demand technocrats. Look a dull Dausi heading an organisation that require 80% up IQ. Bwanji kutenga anthu amene ali pa Need Support pa ntchito yofunika Gifted Learner. Mavotavota tsiku lina mudzavotera mfiti mu boma.

  22. tuvitwana says:

    WHERE DAZ HE COME FROM, KANYAMA? THYOLO?

  23. kd says:

    the president himself is acartoon …..

  24. genuinengoni says:

    We need experienced professional advisers for the President, the present staff of Ben Phiri, Paulos Chisale, Bright Malopa needs beefing up. You also need an experienced professional NIB director preferrebly a M
    ilitary BrigadIer General or above.

  25. The Truthful One from the West says:

    My problem with the way you have written is that you take it for granted that Peter Mutharika was not given information about Kanyama before he appointed him IG. What if he was given the information and he ignored it? You see advisors cannot come in the open and say we advised him but he made his own decision. It is really worrying you are attacking people who cannot answer back and and without evidence to back your claim.This is very unfair. My advice is that the President should be careful when making these appointments.

  26. chakwanuleka says:

    Zabvutatu APA. Kodi pali chimene boma limeneli tidzachite chopanda banga.

  27. makito says:

    When the small Kahuna leaves the post.

  28. Alufeyo says:

    Ralph could you sometimes do proper investigative reporting. Why are you afraid of going deeper? First and foremost APM is completely being musled by his henchmen who are busy recommending their buddies to HE. As long as OPC rdmains as it is there is more trouble for APM. On statutory corporations OPC sent the correct documents in line with various acts but Statehouse decided they had to put their girlfrienfs and relations. The CS must protect APM by ensuring that every decision from statehouse is well conceived. I even suggest that APM should disband/delete OPC. The CS must also stop taking instructions from may politicians. Chonde bwana your boss is APM and not the VP.

  29. ndunde says:

    Message delivered home

  30. Ngakha says:

    So those with records of terminal illnesses at the time of being employed got to be disqualified? Zoona Iwe Tenthani ndiye ukunena choncho?

  31. vinjeru says:

    I partly agree with few of your points raised in this article,

    firstly i dont share with u on the point that weak security systems should be blamed on kanyama as the leader but rather on the Malawi police service at large, similaly it wasnt about mkitho but rather a collective effort.

    secondly kanyama says his decisions are based on his current health status which I am fully convienced that its his call to decide his current life and not yours and next time check ur limits of thoughts.

  32. Imraan Sadik says:

    Ralph the tenant at plot number one will never get anything right as he has never gotten anything right? He appoints a 20 member cabinet quite a positive move only to pour water unto it all by appointing a plantation of assistants and advisors.

  33. Mtchona wopanda mano says:

    Presidential advisors, Home Affairs Minister & NIB top dog, Nicholas are all madeya. Fire them!

  34. to says:

    DO WE EVER LEARN?

    1. Mtunga says:

      I, JUST LIKE YOU, DOUBT.

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