Atleast 24 students from Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), have come forward seeking compensation, claimed they were assaulted and brutalised by the police in Zomba during the anti university fee hike violent protests.
Chancellor College Students Union president Ayuba James confirmed that the 24 are willing to prove that the police tortured them.
The Malawi Law Society asked the college leadership to bring forward names of students who were allegedly abused by the police in a bid to press for their compensation.
This followed a leaked video clip which has gone viral in the social media exhibiting police brutality.
The video clip shows a group of police officers aggressively chasing unarmed students before confronting and ruthlessly assaulting the two helpless girls.
Malawi Law Society of Malawi officials said they would not want to comment on the matter now whilst the Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama said his office is also probing the same.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo has accused the police of trying to suppress the matter and has called for the dismissal and prosecution of the responsible officers.
He said: “What they [officers] did is totally against their job which is to protect and promote people’s rights as stipulated in the Police Act and the country’s Constitution.”
Taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), a constitutionally established human rights watchdog, has indicated it is carrying out “comprehensive investigations” into the matter whose findings will form the basis of recommendations to be made to concerned authorities for redress
Meanwhile, 14 students from Malawi Polytechni in Blantyre, arrested on Monday due to the same anti University of Malawi fee hikes, have been released on bail.
Chief Resident Magistrate Thomson Ligowe granted bail to the students on condition that each one of them should report to Blantyre Police station every Wednesday morning, they should not go out of Blantyre without informing the officer-in-charge at the station, police should visit and verify their places of residence in Blantyre and that they should not be found around the Polytechnic campus.
He also told them they should be available at the court on August 11 when the case is expected to start.
The students are accused of proposing violence. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges..
Meanwhile, Polytechnic Students Union president Frank Mchupuka Msiska expressed disappointment with the way the police handled the whole issue.
“Police are fond of to practicing the skills they got during training on university students. We were having a peaceful assembly, discussing issues that affect us but they started firing teargas on us. I wish the Inspector General should start sending some of his officers to war tone countries so that they practice their skills since they have no better way of utilizing those skills on a peaceful country like this one,” said Msiska.
The University of Malawi students held demonstrations protesting the hike in their financial contribution from K55 000/K275 000 to a minimum of K400 000.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :