Dzonzi storms Chanco, assures academic freedom, no spies

The newly-appointed Inspector General of Malawi Police Service Loti Dzonzi on Tuesday visited Chancellor College in Zomba and appealed for a new beginning in as far as relations between the Police and College community are concerned, vowing to ensure academic freedom in the university.

The Police chief delivered a lecture titled: “Eight lessons I never learnt while at Chirunga campus” before a jam-packed Great Hall constituting largely of students with a handful of unarmed Police officers.

His remarks comes against a background of deteriorating relations between the Chancellor College Community and the Police which was mainly caused by the former police chief, Peter Mukhito, who last year summoned University of Malawi political scientist Dr Blessings Chinsinga to account for a comment he made during a lecture.

Police IG Dzonzi: To respect for human rights and freedoms as guaranteed by our constitution

Mukhito action triggered academic freedom protests that disrupted lecturers for a year.

“When I was appointed as the Inspector General, I realised that there was a huge gap between the Police and the public. And I discovered that one of the communities where this gap was felt much was Chancellor College. Am therefore coming to you today with the hope that we can have a new beginning,” said Dzonzi, while attracting cheers from the audience.

The Inspector General, who was flanked by the newly-elected President of Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (CCASU) Sunduzwayo Madise, the Principal of Chancellor College Professor Chris Kamlongera and the President of Chancellor College Students Union Patrick O’Phade Phiri, expressed his higher respect for academic freedom by stressing that he would expect the Police not to meddle with the intellectual freedom of learners and that there will be no spies in the lecture rooms.

“I want my children and all the children of Malawi to attain University where they can engage their intellect freely without the intervention of the Police,” said Dzonzi a university graduate himself.

Speaking earlier, the Principal of Chancellor College Professor Kamlongera applauded the IG for such an initiative.

“This is a rare opportunity in the history of Chancellor College to have the IG amidst us. I must first begin by congratulating you for being appointed the Inspector General of Police. His coming clearly signals his willingness to work with us, not to work on us,” said Kamlongera, whose much of his speech was greeted with jeers from the students.

While recognizing Dzonzi as Chancellor College home-grown Inspector General of Police, Students Union President Patrick O’Phade Phiri advised the IG that the Malawi Police which they were hoping for was the one which would serve the needs of Malawians, desist from brutality and respect the rule of law.

Apart from addressing the students, Dzonzi also held a high-level meeting with members of Chancellor College academic staff and also organized a cocktail party for students’ representatives and members of academic staff at Police College on the same day.

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