Mutharika hires 30 ‘private’ bodyguards at State House

President Peter Mutharika has hired up to 30 ‘private’ bodyguards to replace State House police officers who provided security at Kamuzu Palace but have been transferred to various districts, Nyasa Times has established.

There are now more ‘private’ bodyguards and a fewer number of ‘trained military police officers’ at Kamuzu Palace than has ever been the case before.

Most of the ‘private’ security officers are believed to be relations of the President and other top State House management officers, including the Chief of Staff, Peter Mukhito {former police chief}  and the presidential Guard Commander, Duncan Mwapasa, according to highly-placed source at the palace.

Mutharika:  Hires private bodyguards

Mutharika: Hires private bodyguards

The ‘private’ bodyguards have been employed on contract as the President’s personal assistants. They have been put on Grades ranging from P5 to 7, drawing a monthly salary of more than K150, 000 each. They are also entitled to free housing, free water and electricity, among others.

In contrast, the ‘trained presidential police’ guards receive less than half of the ‘private’ bodyguards’ salaries, except for being entitled to free housing, water and electricity for those that stayed in State House houses at Kamuzu Palace or Lilongwe State Lodge at Mtunthama, Area 3 and other state lodges across the country, according to the source, who preferred anonymity for ‘obvious’ reasons.

In addition to these 30 ‘private’ guards, there are almost 20 officers employed on contract as either presidential advisors or personal assistants.

A senior police commissioner at the Malawi National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe said while issues of personal safety and security for the Head of State are extremely intricate, State House should not have hired “such an unreasonable number of ‘private’ bodyguards”.

“That’s extremely unbelievable. What is it that may be going through the minds of those who think they have been unfairly transferred? It is even more dangerous when others think they are being victimized for where they come from. Northerners are being transferred to the north and the pattern goes on with those from the other regions,” said the commissioner, also preferring anonymity.

President Mutharika, who came to power following the May 20, 2014 elections, has so far fired, reassigned and sent on forced leave over 30 high-ranking government technocrats and CEOs of government parastatals, replacing most of them with suspected ‘homeboys’.

This has prompted the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to “call upon” President Mutharika to “desist from actions or omissions which may be seen to be politically motivated in dealing with dismissals or removals of officers from the public service”.

“The DPP-led Government is called upon to demonstrate total and full commitment to the translation of the rhetoric on public service reformation into reality,” reads part of MHRC statement issued on July 20, 2014 and signed by its Chairperson, Ambassador Sophie Asimenye Kalinde.

 

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