Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Malawi Defence Force (MDF) on Monday held a media briefing at the Police Headquarters, Area 30 in Lilongwe in which the Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose maintained that he has “demanded” that protests against Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chair Jane Ansah should stop or else the law enforcers will use force to disperse the marchers.
The two State security organs media briefing was held ahead of a fresh round of anti-Jane Ansah protests by civil society organisations (CSOS) led by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) set for Tuesday nationwide.
Apart from the Police IG, there was also the presence of military bosses at the briefing which included MDF Commander Vincent Nundwe.
In his statement, Jose confirmed sending a letter to HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo dated July 26 2019, that has been circulating on various platforms, ordering the grouping to stop convening demonstrations in the country.
“As Inspector General, I would like to put it on record that my office places supremacy on the Constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate,” said Jose.
He said the decision follows violent and criminal acts that have characterised recent protests and that it doesn’t require one to be a rocket scientist to know that the demonstrations have been violent and have provided an opportunity for criminal elements to loot.
“It’s now evident that some quarters of the society have now declared war on police,” said Jose.
Jose said police officers have been attacked during these demonstrations, making it extremely difficult for them to provide security to persons and property.
He used a quote of former US President William J. Clinton, saying: “A society that makes war against its police had better learn to make friends with its criminals.”
Jose said his letter to HRDC is a demand but hope the grouping will respond positively to the letter as Police are overwhelmed by the demonstrations.
“I have demanded. I stand by the words that I am demanding,” he said.
HRDC has blamed the country’s city councils and Malawi Police Service for allegedly fuelling violence, looting and vandalism that have characterised recent demonstrations organised by the grouping.
In a statement seen by Nyasa Times, HRDC national chairperson Timothy Mtambo said police should arrest all criminal elements in the protests but not stop rights of citizens to demonstrate.
Mtambo said HRDC is available to work with relevant authorities to prevent violence before, during and after the demonstrations.
A security studies lecturer at Mzuzu University, Euginio Njoloma said the IG’s decision to demand suspension of demonstrations shows that the police is overwhelmed.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :