Civil society activists say they will be meeting very soon to chart the next course of action after parliament on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Rodney Jose as the country’s Inspector General (IG) of Police.
Trapence: Rise up
The CSOs, working under the banner of human rights defenders insists the 58 year old top cop, who is due to retire in November 2019, had not been cleared of his involvement in the murder of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa.
Timothy Mtambo, one of the vocal civil society activists has said the human rights defenders are deeply disappointed with the conduct of the legislators from the government side who massively voted to confirm the controversial IG.
In a secret ballot, Parliament confirmed Jose with 96 yes votes against 55 ‘no’ votes and two abstentions. Government had support from the People’s Party – who are in working arrangement to support government as part of amnesty of their leader Joyce Banda from prosecution.
“This is very disappointing, this is a clear indication that our members of parliament are in parliament for their political masters not for the people who voted them into the House,” said Mtambo.
Mtambo warned this is the same attitude of members of parliament which never brought back into the House a good number of legislators from the previous parliament.
“As human rights defenders we will meet to chart the way forward,” said Mtambo.
But Minister of Home Affairs Cecilia Chazama said what the CSOs think of Jose is just a perception.
“It is true that he appeared before a commission of inquiry but that does not mean that he was convicted. He can only be convicted by a court of law,” she said.
In April this year, civil society organisations (CSOs) held nationwide demonstrations and presented a petition to President Peter Mutharika on various issues, including the reversing of Jose’s appointment.
One of the CSOs leaders Gift Trapence said the IG confirmation is bad for democracy.
He said: “It shows that some of the MPs do not protect the rule of law. They are there to serve their own interests. As civil society, we will not stop our calls until justice is seen on the death of Chasowa.”
Trapence urged Malawians to “rise up” and defend democracy.
Law expert Edge Kanyongolo has cast doubt over the logical conclusion of the investigation of the murder of Chasowa following the confirmation of Jose as inspector general of police.
“It is highly unexpected that the Inspector General of police can investigate himself,” said Kanyongolo.
The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) rejected Jose’s candidature as IG, saying he works for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and that he is incompetent and never inspiredthe short period that he has been acting IG.MCP laid the blame at Jose’s feet for police’s unprofessionalism and failure to bring to book perpetrators of political violence of which MCP has been a victim.
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