Activist tips Mutharika govt on demo

Human Rights Activist Moses Mkandawire has asked government to equip the Malawi Police Service with hardware to professionally deal the future demonstrations.

Malawi police came under fire on the ‘unprofessional’ handling of the July 20 protests that left about 19 people dead and scores injured. Police admitted the use of live ammunition against unarmed citizens citing lack of proper equipment.

Mkandawire said Police needs to meet minimum standards of dealing with crowd control as set out in Article 9 of the Police Act.

Mkandawire: Taking an oath before testifying Photo: Nyasa Times

He said this during his testimony to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on anti-government protests currently sitting in Mzuzu getting testimonies from various people.

“Build capacity through the provision of enablers or force multipliers such as water canons. One water canon is equivalent to 200 Police Officers. The Police must also factor in Human Rights when dealing with situations such as those of July 20,” Mkandawire said.

Civil Society groups in Malawi have given President Bingu wa Mutharika up to March to either solve some of the country’s problems or face mass action.

Mkandawire said the disproportionate use of fire arms in quelling the July 20th 2011 demonstrations meant the Police violated national and international legislations.

“As Civil Society we will continue to demonstrate when ever we feel things are not right. After all demonstrations are a way of expression,” he said.

Police chief Peter Mukhitho is on record saying d lack of equipment to professionally handle demonstrations was the major cause of deaths during the protests.

Section 38 of Malawi Constitution guarantees every person “ the right to assemble and demonstrate with others peacefully and unarmed.”

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