Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc and Unitrans has donated three patrol vehicles to Chikwawa police and Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service (MPS), George Kainja has urged community members to report to authorities if police officers are deemed to be abusing the vehicles.
The vehicles were donated to Chikwawa police service to enhance security patrols to crackdown rampant crime rate that affects business operations of Illovo Sugar and its business partners Unitrans and security company Garda World Malawi.
The handover ceremony was held on Wednesday at Ngabu whose Police Post and that of Nchalo Police Station were also rehabilitated by Illovo Sugar with support from Garda World.
In applauding the support, Kainja said the MPS is mandated to ensure that economic activities in the country are conducted in a conducive environment, which is free of crime but the Service fails to be as vigilant as it is supposed to be because of lack of resources such as patrol cars.
“With these patrol vehicles we now anticipate to counter evil thoughts of some members of the community which targets Illovo Sugar’s business operations,” he said.
“Robbers are now targeting rural communities because they know the risk of being arrested is slim taking cognizance of the mobility challenges the police face.
“We thus need trusted partners to assist us with resources of this nature to jointly crackdown on rising rate of crime, especially in rural communities like Chikwawa where economic activities attract criminals.
“We applaud the gesture from Illovo, Unitrans and Garda World and I confidently say these are our trusted partners, come rain or sunshine.”
Chikwawa’s business activities are thriving because of economic operations sorrounding the presence of Illovo Sugar, which has attracted criminals to be stealing their sugarcanes in bulk using ox carts as well as vandalism of its agriculture equipment such as pipes, canals and others.
Kainja thus urged the Chikwawa police to intensify the patrols and crime investigations up to their court convictions to let potential criminals know they are now well equipped to swiftly react to reports of criminal activities.
Illovo Sugar also donated equipment to Chikwawa Police that included torches, whistles and reflective jackets to give to community policing service that work in liaison with the MPS.
While appealing to the community members to be as vigilant as the police in curbing crime, Kainja urged the residents to report any abuse of the patrol vehicles before they get out of hand.
He pledged that his office “shall firmly act and punish any wrong doing on any reported cases of abuse of the vehicles for personal gain” by his officers.
He also urged Illovo and other stakeholders to consider assisting the police with motorcycles in order to patrol and respond to criminal activities in hard-to-reach areas.
Representing Illovo Sugar Malawi’s Managing Director who was not present due to other equally important assignments elsewhere Illove Sugar’s company secretary, Maureen Kachingwe said their core purpose is to build a thriving Malawian community starting with the areas that they operating from.
“Theft has been a serious concern for both the Illovo Nchalo operations and the wider Nchalo-Ngabu community itself,” she said. “The community has been a victim of crimes such as theft of domestic animals and crops, while Illovo has had stolen cane and agriculture equipment amongst others.
“Our community cannot thrive in an environment of such insecurity. In addition to theft, Nchalo Estate has seen an increasing trend in the number of assaults on our guards and other employees — who are themselves members of the Nchalo-Ngabu community.”
She said Illovo then engaged Minister of Homeland Affairs for assistance, whom they met in October last year where a task team was put in place comprising Malawi Police Illovo management members with the mandate to come up with joint solutions to curb these acts of insecurity.
“The task team came up with a strategy including proposals for enhancement of police patrols in the area, and working with community policing forums.
“Illovo management committed itself to assist the police with vehicles for the patrols and also to donate tools to the community policing forums and to rehabilitate the existing police offices for Ngabu and Nchalo Police posts.”
She added that in liaison with Chikwawa, Nchalo and Ngabu police, they resuscitated 23 community policing forums in the communities surrounding the estate.
And to inspire the community policing forums, Illovo also introduced specific rewards for arrests made as well as successful prosecutions in relation to theft of its company equipment.
“So far 39 arrests were made by community policing forums of which 10 of the arrested individuals have been successfully convicted,” she said.
She acknowledged and applauded Illovo’s business partner, Unitrans for rehabilitating one of its land cruisers which was donated to “assist the police to improve their mobility challenges as they carry out their duties of combating crime here in Chikwawa for the benefit of both our estates and the community at large”.
“Our commitment to building a thriving Malawian community guides our corporate strategy. We know, quite simply, that this is essential for our success.
“No business can succeed in an environment where the surrounding community is falling apart. We will continue to strengthen our relations with the communities and the authorities to keep this momentum going and growing as we build on our success story together.
“It is my hope that the partnership that we have demonstrated today will go a long way to make the Shire Valley a thriving, secure and safe community for all.”
Present at the function was Deputy Minister of Lands, Abida Mia — who is also Member of Parliament for the area of Chikwawa Mkombezi — and appealed to the police officers to take good care of the vehicles and the rehabilitated offices.
“The donation of the three vehicles happens at a time when need for good transportation by our security officers is so acute. The initiative will certainly lessen the gap of need, that has been outstanding for a long time,” she said.
Other dignitaries present were MP for Chikwawa Central Constituency, Salim Bagus; Paramount Chief Lundu; Senior Chief Ngabu; Commissioner for South Eastern Police, Chikondi Chingadza and an army of senior police officers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :