Bingu rewards trigger-happy police officers

Police officers who carried out massacre of innocent civilians who were protesting against deteriorating political, social and economic situation in Malawi on July 20 and 21 have been rewarded with two nights’ duty allowance with orders from President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Duty allowance outside normal and official duty was recently raised from K2, 000 per night to K6, 000. This means that the rewarded police officers received K12, 000 each. It is not clear how many plice officers were “thanked” but 18 people were recorded  dead during the July 20, 2011 mass protests in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Karonga.

“The leadership has done this to encourage other officers to shoot to kill should other protests erupt. But I don’t think the K12, 000 is worthy killing an innocent citizen of the country who is only but crying foul of a creeping dictatorship,” said a Lilongwe-based commissioner of police, preferring anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Malawi security forces on patrol

He said most of the said police officers are likely to be promoted to senior ranks as the process of promoting police officers across the country is being currently carried out.

State vice president Joyce Banda, whose People’s Party (PP) has been officially registered by the registrar of political parties, visited  families of riot victims in Ndirande Malabada. She was accompanied by her husband, retired Chief Justice Richard Banda and senior executive members of PP.

Banda, whose call on government to respect people’s constitutional right to demonstrate has attracted Wa Mutharika’s threats of arrest, said she was saddened by the death of the innocent individuals when the protests were meant to be peaceful.

Commenting on the rewarded police officers, PP national publicity director, Mr Stephen Mwenye said in Blantyre that if it were really true that the country’s leadership had thanked some Malawians for killing fellow Malawians, then “it is madness of highest degree”, saying families had “lost loved ones that they will never see again”.

He said PP, whose motto is “unity; equity; and development” will at an appropriate time hold accountable those authorizing reward for murderers, saying they are closely monitoring the unfolding events. (Reporting by Lusubilo Sichali, Malawi Democrat).

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