Analyst cautions Malawi police ‘heavy-handed at protests’

A renowned political scientist at Chancellor College  of the University of Malawi has cautioned the Police of being too heavy-handed in dealing with protests, harassing and intimidating people as the country gears for an election next year.

Police stops UTM vigil

This follows ugly scenes at the gates of police headquarters in Area 30, Lilongwe on Wednesday where peaceful United Transformation Movement (UTM) protesters led by former First Lady Callista Mutharika were teargassed by the police.

They had gone to the police headquarters to demand the unconditional release of a social media activist Manice Dawood Hale who had been arrested at Kamuzu International Airport as she was about to board a plane back to her base in the US.

Some people were injured and were rushed to hospital following the teargas.

But Augustine Magolowondo of  Chancellor College cautioned the police to always be professional and avoid to be used for political expediency.

“The police are a profession police. They should exercise caution and restraint in the use of force,” he said.

He said the police at Area 30 over reacted when they teargassed the UTM activists, saying they were not armed and could have just discussed with them.

But police spokesperson James Kadadzera said they are acting lawfully.

He  the use of force is allowed when protesters fail to adhere to commands of the commander at the scene.

“What is needed is for people to abide by what the officers are communicating to them. Our job is to bring order and stability,” said Kadadzera.

The arrest of Hale comes amid reports that the police, on orders from State House, are planning to arrest some UTM top officials including Callista Mutharika, Noel Masangwi and Patricia Kaliati, reports which have since been dismissed by Kadadzera.

Magolowondo comments on police comes as the law encorfers  prepare to deal with large-scale protests on September 8 when civil society organisations plan to demand resignation of President Peter Mutharika in the streets.

Observers says the use of officers in riot gear to police protests could “unnecessarily raise the temperature” of crowds, making conflict more likely, and said police should not be using teargas at peaceful protests.

 

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Malemu
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Malemu

What could have happened if these people were not attended to, would they break the cells to release their friend, would they open the doors into the police offices own their own. you mean What they know is the use of force.

Abu
Guest

Ndipo A police anthu omwetsa Chisoni kwambiri, ma nyumba omwe mumakhala aja kumayelekedwa . anyapala

Kambukambu
Guest
Kambukambu

Zinakambuzinaleku!!! We need some law and order sometimes!!!! This nonsese of strikes everyday will never help us!!!

Austin
Guest
Austin

I may love to say that the demos were not peaceful. The former firstl ready behaved too emotional and the song they all sung were kind of provocative. The seniors from police asked them to go back first until the police have looked into the issues but they insulted the police right at the headquarters. Unless if my professor you tell me that it is legal for party official to be against the law and that if picked, party members and officials must protest whilst insulting our own police. Otherwise if this is the case then we are not being… Read more »

Make Malawi Great
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Make Malawi Great

They cant cause juniors obey orders from above! They need to keep their jobs or they will be transferred etc its the system at fault! Needs reforms like any other state capture org in Malawi ACB, ESCOM, MBC, MECRA, MEC, we need fed type of govt. separation of powers.

Agenda Setting Theory
Guest
Agenda Setting Theory

Kadadzera, you should think before you open your mouth. Are you really sure that you needed to use teargas to disperse people. The use of force is the show of weakness and lack of negotiating skills which most of our law enforcers do not have. Policing is by consent and not force. That is why you are longer called a Malawi Police Force, but Malawi Police Service, but from the look of things you seen to refuse to change.

njungunju
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njungunju

All in Police force they young; They did not see how army dislorged MYP; Unless Army today is sleeping; People are watching;

CIVIL SERVANT
Guest
CIVIL SERVANT

The key word is Law enforcement. The police cannot enforce laws without use of force when necessary.

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