Blantyre Rural West member of Parliament (MP) Peter Kumpalume has pointed out that citizens no longer fear Malawi Police, saying he observed this during blood sucking issue which rocked the Southern Region two months ago, resulting in the death of over 10 people.
Contributing to the debate on the ministerial statement on the current situation of the alleged bloodsuckers in Malawi, Kumpalule (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) said that in his constituency Police had to run away from the irate people.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, under normal circumstances when we have got issues in our communities, we run to the police for protection but I am concerned that on that fateful day at Chatha, the police ran away. So, Mr Speaker, Sir, the question is; if the police are running away, where are we going to run to?” he asked.
Kumpalume further noted that Malawi Police are in “ sad state” to an extent that it feels like “they are constrained by our laws to do certain things in order to maintain law and order in this country.”
He said: “ If you look at what happened in Blantyre during the blood sucking saga, everybody took cover when the military actually came on the scene.”
Continued Kumpalume: “For whatever reasons, it seems that people no longer respect the police as we used to when you and I were growing up. Back then, if we saw a police vehicle, we would run away. That is not happening anymore. Could it be that we have reduced the powers of the police to enforce laws in the best way possible, such that they are afraid of being sued when they try to use the relevant force in order to bring such tragic situations under control? Should we give them more powers so that they take charge of such situations? We should not be waiting for the military to come on the scene in order for people to obey the law.”
In her response, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Cecilia Chazama said when people attacked Police station at Chathe she was in Blantyre.
“The road block at Chatha had six officers; three males and three females and they were not armed. The people, who caught that epileptic man and took him to the road block, were heavily armed with panga knives and huge rocks. The police tried their part to help this man but the people were very violent as we saw in the video clip. It is unfortunate that the officers ran away. The wireless radios which our officers use were not working and it took time for the Chileka police to assist because the vehicle was not there,” she explained.
Chazama said she is also one of the people who called Commissioner Chigwenembe of the Southern Region Police to rush there with the ‘Black Maria’ to help.
“By the time this vehicle arrived at the spot, the man had already been killed and burnt. It is unfortunate that this happened. This was also an eye opener and a lesson to our Malawi Police Service that when they are manning the road blocks, they should at least be armed,” said Chazama
She said even if the officers were armed, they could not do anything because there were a lot of people.
“When these people left this man, they were going round to people’s residencies. They were targeting houses with brick fences, throwing stones, demanding that the gates be opened claiming that the blood suckers were in those houses but in fact, they just wanted to steal. That is why the majority of them, Mr Speaker, are on remand and they will be taken to court,” said Chazama.
On the sad state of the police and why people are not scared of police when something happens, she conceded that people only run away when it is soldiers from the Malawi Defence Force.
“This is what as Malawians we should also try to embrace. This is a Police Service and they are doing a service to us by giving information but also when we see them in our midst, they are there to bring service to us as Malawians. If they are bringing law and order, it is illegal for us to take action to attack these officers,” she said.
“It does not mean that because they are not armed when they try to bring order in a situation then we should be the first ones to attack them. We should respect the law,” the minister said.
Chazama assured the legislators of government will present the final report when it is ready.
“I would like to assure this august House and the entire nation that government will not relent but work tirelessly to ensure that there is lasting peace and order in this country. Once we get to the bottom of the alleged blood-sucking rumours, necessary steps and strategies will be put in place,” she said.
The blood sucking rumours have negatively impacted on the socio-economic development of the country since they started mid-September.
Over 10 people were killed by angry mobs for being suspected to be blood suckers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :