Calls are growing for police officers caught on a video clip to face prosecution for chasing students within Chancellor College premises as if they were criminals before confronting two seemingly stranded and unarmed young female students
Newspaper columnist, activist and State-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission have commented on the matter in unison calling for justice for the brutal cops.
They are calling for Police to carry out disciplinary investigations and punish those responsible as soon as possible.
Selina Kainja writing in the Weekend Nation stated: “When I first saw the video, I couldn’t watch it to the end. I just couldn’t stomach it. I imagined the fear the unarmed girls had at the site of the monsters camouflaged as police officers. The overzealous police officers were supposed to protect the students and not to harm them.”
The columnist wrote: “These police officers should be brought to book. They can’t be let free. If Malawi Police Service (MPS) is serious about police reform, the two officers beating students have just dented the image of the police and as such I expect police authorities to act on the two officers”
She condemned cops for storming students’ hostel.
“Tear-gasing students while they sought refuge in their rooms was an act of terror by the police. Someone has to explain and justify why they needed to chase the students from the hostels. Chase them to where?”
The Chanco students’ demonstrations attracted international headlines after the students-police running battles inconvenienced the United States of America (USA) Second Lady Jill Biden on her way to visit Mtubwi Primary School in Machinga last Tuesday.
Kainja wrote that it was “poor judgement” on the part of the police that led to the students blocking US second lady Kill Jill Biden.
“I am so certain the police led the students to the street, and also certain, that the students didn’t know there was some high ranking person on the road on that day. Where else were they supposed to go if they were being chased from their campus?
“Our police officers need to go back to class and learn better ways of crowd or riot control. It has shown that in many cases, when there are demos, police use violence or intimidation to scare people away.”
Human rights activist Rafiq Hajat who is also Executive Director of Institute of Policy for Interaction (IPI) slammed the police for their conduct saying time for police brutality is over.
“I think the days of police brutality are over and time to be accountability has come,” said Hajat om Capital FM.
Malawi Human Rights Commission has since said it is carrying out what it called ‘comprehensive investigations into the matter’.
Chairperson to the Commission Justin Dzonzi, further explained that the findings of the probe will inform the commission’s objective and evidence-based assessment of the situation and the human rights implications thereof, saying that would form the basis of recommendations to concerned authorities as well as “put in place remedial or redress”.
“It [the investigation] will also get to the bottom of the role played by different actors, including the students’ council, the University leadership, and the police in dealing with the event; document the incidences of violence and the consequences thereof; and probe into issues surrounding the use of force by the police in dealing with the situation.”
The statement also touches on several key areas on which it shared its notes, including on human rights, where it seemingly blamed the police for their action in the whole matter; adding the events surrounding the demonstrations raise implications for a number of human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :