Dzonzi pledges Malawi Police professionalism, protect rights

New Inspector General of Malawi Police Service, Loti Dzonzi has pledged that he will lead a professional service that will ensure human rights are protected.

During last July’s anti-government protests, police shot and killed 19 people. The brutal crackdown forced the United States to suspend a $350 million compact for Malawi’s energy sector.

The police was also accused of having a hand in the mysterious death of a university student activist Robert Chasowa.

But Dzonzi confirmed by Parliament this week has assured that he will rehabilitate Police’s battered image.

Loti Dzonzi: Malawi Police Inspector General

Dzonzi has disclosed that he has established an Internal Affairs Unit whose primary objectives are preventing human rights violations by Police officers when performing their duties.

“The mission of this Internal Affairs Unit shall be to build a police which is people friendly, professional, and proactive in dealing with issues of human rights. Its vision shall be to
diminish human rights violations committed by police officers,” he told a workshop of officers organised by Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre in Mangochi.

He said his immediate objective is to reconstruct the relationship between the Police and the public.

“It is our duty to render service focusing on the aspirations of public without unnecessary delay where a delay could generate an adverse image of the Police. For this to work I will make sure that discipline, obedience, and courtesy strictly adhered to,” said Dzozi who rose through the ranks to his current position since joining the force in 1987.

He stressed that t the mission of the Malawi Police Service is “to uphold the law, maintain order and keep peace in Malawi.”

Dzonzi said: “We shall do this in partnership with the community to protect life and property, prevent crime and disorder, detect and apprehend offenders and preserve a sense of security.”

The Police chief pledged to that the law enforcers shall discharge their duties “with professionalism and courage.”

He said: “We shall always be diligent in seeking the truth with knowledge and undertaking of purpose.  In so doing we shall reduce deaths of civilians or suspects in the hands of Police.”

Dzozi emphasised that Police “shall display fairness and impartiality in our pursuit of justice. We shall always act without fear or favour or prejudice of any kind.”

Adding: “As Inspector General, I am committed to a Malawi Police Service that provides quality
service to its customers courteously and responsively to the public’s needs. I aspire to have a Malawi Police Service that is result oriented and that strives to be an organization of excellence.”

He asked all rank and file of the Malawi Police Service to serve the nation “with loyalty and integrity.”

Undule talks human rights

In his speech, Undule Mwakasungura MHRRC member urged Police to uphold human rights and ensure they address issues of delays in prosecuting offenders to reduce overcrowding in prisons by suspects on remand.

Mwakasungura also asked Police to review late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s “Shot to kill” and “Smoke Out” policies.

“The summary killing of innocent Malawians (including women and children) as evidenced by the 20th July, 2011 demonstrations raises serious concerns over Malawi Police’s respect for the value of life as well as the use of live fire arms during peaceful protests,” he said.

Mwakasungura also said the rights defenders are also equally concerned about the human rights of police men and women themselves.

“We cannot expect professional work by the Police when they have to continue to live in the same colonial housing standards and are receiving salaries which make them struggle to meet their basic family needs, as a result they end up being accused of being corrupt,” he said.

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