Malawi needs Police Inspectorate to prosecute cops found on wrong side of the law

Opening a refresher course on Child Protection and Gender Based Violence in Dowa, Director of Research and Planning in the Malawi Police Service Dr George Kainja has been bold enough to admit that members of the pubic have lost trust in the police. The admission is coming at a time when pubic trust is at the lowest ebb since the dawn of democracy. Although he has made an assurance that the police is doing something about it, it remains to be seen whether this will materialise.

Malawians have developed a profound dislike of police 

The unprofessional manner in which the police have been conducting themselves over the years has led to many Malawians to lose trust. Some 11 years ago (2008) I wrote a similar article under the title “Protection from the police” in which I suggested that Malawi needs a Police Inspectorate, an independent body that would prosecute police officers found on the wrong side of the law. It does not make any sense for the victims of police brutality to complain to the same police that is victimising them. They cannot get justice. The tendency has been to shield errant police officers and hide behind the phrase “we are investigating” when they are just lying; case closed!

I wrote:

“Despite the police claiming to be professional and not being influenced by the ruling elite and other powerful individuals or receiving ‘orders from above’ the situation on the ground proves contrary. The police have failed to fend off taking orders from the ruling elite and work within the Police Act and the Malawi Constitution.

“They see themselves as civil servants and serving the government of the day rather than an independent organization that is governed by statutes and supposed to work within the law and follow it to the letter.  They are used by the ruling elite to abuse human rights while they also abuse human rights through their own actions. Malawians are now accustomed to police excesses and overbearing behaviour. Media are replete with reports of police high-handedness and brutality.”

Incidentally, police incompetence, excesses and brutality has become worse. In 2011 police shot dead 20 protesters. Some suspects have died in prison and inquests have revealed that the suspects have been tortured. And no effort is made to bring the killer cops to book. For example, Malawi Human Rights Commission recommended that the police officers who tortured to death Buleya Lule [an albino suspected killer] should be prosecuted. But the police is shielding the culprits. They still walk free.

The manner in which the police have handled demonstrations in the aftermath of the disputed May 21 election results also leaves a lot to be desired.  They have beaten up or shot at demonstrators, fired teargas into the crowd unnecessarily and failed to arrest ruling party cadets involved in violence. For example, the police just watched as Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) official Billy Mayaya was hacked with a panga knife. As if this is not embarrassing enough, the police raped scores of women in Msundwe in Lilongwe in the aftermath demonstrations last week in which a police officer was killed.

There is bad blood between the people and the police. The police do not command respect as they used to. Many Malawians have developed a profound dislike of the police.  This is exemplified by people chasing or stoning them during demonstrations, preferring soldiers to provide security. They are viewed as an arm of the ruling Democratic People’s Party (DPP) whose cadets are not arrested for perpetrating violence.

HRDC is lobbying parliament not to confirm the Acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa as Inspector General while the main opposition Malawi Congress Party has taken a position not to confirm him because they accuse him of favouring the ruling party.

It will take time for the police to win back the confidence of the public. But this can only happen after DPP is ejected out of office, a massive clean-up is instituted to get rid of the bad apples in the police service, get the right people to head the police. Above all, the police need to have the determination to be professional at all times and refuse to be used by politicians regardless of consequences.

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Mtete
Guest

We’ve heard this umpteen times.Our police is permanently deformed

joseph
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joseph

The police need to hire experts to assist in the mess we have peace and security experts but Malawi has a ;problem they don’t search talent from their own daughters and sons.Some of us have expertise after being trained by various experts all over the world but we are nobody.All what is happening in Malawi we have already analysed and have options scenerios and recommendations.China developed because it sends the talented and intelligent youth abroad now they are back that is why china has developed. Malawi search talent among your daughters and you will develop.Indeed Malawi need what is called… Read more »

pitala
Guest
pitala

Kkkkkkkk munalepana or kulepelana ine twee ndithu nditha kumudula zakezo mpaka atanditaya😡😬😈 rape yachani miyala kunalibe ku nsundwe ija anaphera omwewo😡

Peter
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Peter

Malawi police are saveges that’s they allow themselves to be use by Dpp goverment end result Peter Mutharika is taking chances bring Cadets and give them top possition in DPO Malawi than the police that have been there for decat because of stupidity for Malawi police.

Kaitano
Guest
Kaitano

There is battle between police andthe people and at the end you will see that it will end up in civil war. The police forgets that they are also people from rural areas like the one they torture and rapes so far, and when people threw stones at them they forget all what they do to these innocent people. Time will come and is just near for police people to hide their uniforms when going to their work places believe me. People will be beating them, stonning them wherever they meet. I have seen police in some of Southern African… Read more »

Kharupa
Guest
Kharupa

The way the system is whichever party is in government will have control of state organs including the police and they can use or abuse the organs as they wish. What needs to be done is to remove some presidential powers so that he/she cannot do as they please. The problem we have as Malawi is that opposition parliamentarians would not agitate for change in our systems because they also have the intention of abusing the system when they ascend to power. Our parliamentarians have failed us and these partisan idiots do not qualify to be called honourable.

Iantana
Guest
Iantana

MALAWI…tizayakadi tonse muno

Sirus The Sniper
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Sirus The Sniper

Exactly!!! Palinso mbuzi ina yake pa Lingadzi Police (Area 18 – VSU)… he thinks he is a smart cop koma malabishi okhaokha. Very stupid and immature … alibe nzeru olo dontho. Ndizamuthyola asamale!!!

papa
Guest
papa

you are taking it personal. not good

Jemusi
Guest
Jemusi

What is personal here?

yobu 13 13
Guest

anzanu akupanga ndalama inu busy ndi a polisi zaziiiiiii

Whiteboard Marker
Guest

I am making.