DPP accuses Malawi police of brutality, harassment of its leader Peter Mutharika

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has written Inspector General of Police, Lot Dzonzi registering its displeasure over police’s “unwarranted harassment” of the party’s president Peter Mutharika and his followers.

In a three-page letter signed by DPP Secretary General, Dr. Jean Kalilani, the party described the law-enforcers behavior as completely unacceptable, legally baseless, and senseless Police arrogance.

The party lamented to the IG of how the law-enforcers have been treating its officials and supporters by, among other things, blocking and teargas its planned rallies and whistle-stop tours.

“I wish to write you about the increasing harassment of the Democratic Progressive Party President and his followers by the Police. This is undemocratic and completely uncalled for.

Kalilani: Wrote a letter of protest
Kalilani: Wrote a letter of protest

“It is in fact unconstitutional and against our democratic and constitutionally guaranteed human rights. I must express our grave concerns and demand an immediate stop to the intimidating and oppressive practices,” wrote Dr. Kalilani.

National Police Public Relations Officer, Rhoda Manjolo said has not seen the letter and asked for more time to comment.

DPP cited the April 29th, 2013 incident where the its president, Professor Peter Mutharika was said to have been teargased by the police on his way out of Lilongwe Magistrates Court where he had for hearing on perjury case, arguing the teargas affected his health.

“On his way back from the Police, the peaceful singing and chanting continued; the Police were fully present in the crowd and there was no violence, chaos or disturbance of peace whatsoever. It was all very orderly. When they had cleared the Police premises completely, the Police ambushed this peaceful crowd which was departing, and threw tear-gas canisters, one directly at the DPP President’s vehicle and others willy-nilly into the crowd which was voluntarily and peacefully leaving the scene.

“Although the exploding tear-gas canister did not injure the DPP President, it caused him much discomfort and exposed him to grave medical danger. This equally applied to other dignitaries around him and to the other supporters in general”.

The letter also cited the Ntcheu and Ntchisi incidents where the police stopped DPP intended whistle-stop tours and the Zomba Domasi incident where teargas was used to disburse party supporters who were said to have gathered unlawfully.

“This again, was completely unacceptable, legally baseless, and senseless Police arrogance. It was a blatant affront to civility and poor judgment by the Police because they provoked some avoidable violent confrontation from some members of the crowd.

“The pattern or scheme here is quite clear. The Police are often instructed and some of them are even determined to harass and prevent the DPP leader from addressing his supporters anywhere in Malawi. The aim is to instill fear in people so that they should not gather in large numbers around the DPP President.

“Despite these blatant, uncivilized and unwarranted provocations, the DPP President and his followers have remained resolute and patient. They have avoided violent confrontations as much as possible,” further read the letter.

Kalilani has since said the party will continue to do everything possible to restrain its followers from retribution ‘because we value the peace and calm that prevails and we believe in law and order’.

Writes Kalilani: “But at the same time we must urge you Mr. IG to put an immediate stop to this senseless behavior by your officers. It is also our hope and strong desire that in the interest of peace and democracy among Malawians, you will be professional and resist the misguided temptations and thoughtless influence of some greedy politicians who want to abuse the Police for their ill-conceived political schemes”.

No comment could be obtained from Dzonzi as he was said to be out of office.

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