Malawi Police shuns UDF, DPP, opposition rallies

Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have decried the failure by Malawi Police  Service to provide security during their public rallies despite the groupings making formal request.

Nyasa Times has noted that during the political rallies the parties had at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre in the past two weeks, there was no single Police officer to provide security, a development that put thousands of lives at risk due to the absence of qualified security detail.

DPP interim president, Professor Peter Arthur Mutharika was first to decry the reluctance by the Police to provide security during DPP rallies before UDF raised similar concerns.

Mutharika said during DPP’s news  conference earlier this month, the Police has been refusing to grant security during the party’s rallies across the country and it was evident during the Njamba rally.

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“The police have refused to provide us security during our rallies. We wrote the Inspector General of Police on several occasions but he has not responded. We feel as citizens and tax payers, we are entitled to security and we urge government to reconsider. We need protection just like any other person in the country and we hope government will cooperate on that,” Mutharika said.

And the picture remained same during another political rally at same venue by UDF with no single Police officer around to protect the country’s citizens who patronised the event.

UDF Publicity Secretary, Ken Ndanga concurred with Mutharika in expressing concerns over the reluctance by the country’s law enforcers to provide security.

“We informed them about our rally in writing and they granted us permission to go ahead with the event, in their profession, they know what to do in such situation. However, we noted that no officer was present to provide security. Ordinarily when you notify the police, they have to provide the security but these days it’s all political. They are no longer providing security to the opposition,” noted Ndanga.

Ndanga said the failure by Police to provide security to opposition parties’ rallies is due to politics in the civil service.

“The problem in Malawi these days is that everything is politicized. Civil service is highly politicized and the police are part of the system. There is a need for change, which is why we are advocating for this idea for change. That is one of the things we will change once in power. Police is for everyone and need to protect every citizen,” added Ndanga.

When contacted the National Police Public Relations Officer, Rhoda Manjolo expressed ignorance.

“I am not aware about that. Let me find out more and I will come back to you,” Manjolo said while saying she was not in office.

But a follow up to get the law enforcers’ side of the story proved futile as Manjolo kept on giving one excuse after another.

With UDF expected to hold another rally in Lilongwe over the weekend, it is yet to be seen if the police will this time ignore the political interference and protect the country’s citizens to patronise the party’s event.

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