Malawi:Talk, talk and more talk: PP way of fighting crime?

Fact No 1:       President Joyce Banda‘s ascendance to power has been followed by an upsetting increasing in crime.

President Joyce Banda, a couple of weeks, ago admitted this fact. Speaking at a function where JICA was donating some music equipment to the police, she said:

“I’ve been reading disturbing reports of increasing crime in some parts of the country. This is not acceptable. The Malawi Police Service (MPS) and all othersecurity agencies need to ensure that all forms of crime in this country must be crushed as it is an enemy of our development agenda.”

Ministerial Statement:

The Home Affairs Minister, Mr Uladi Mussa is also aware of the deterioration in security, but typical of a politician with nothing tangible to offer, all he could say is that the government will not allow the lawlessness to continue.

“Malawi is not a farm. We will have to abide by the laws we have in this country,” Mussa said. “So people should not be scared of anybody. Just report to police or even myself so that we completely crush the crimes committed by the individuals.”

Tough talk, but not enough to drive the fear of God into criminals.

Uladi: Failing Malawians

Fact No 2:       Lawlessness nevertheless continues unabated, and even policemen right at their duty stations are not safe

There have been some arrests which have had little or no effect on the spiralling crime. If anything,  criminals are now getting bolder.

As I write, my heart is with unsuspecting Constable Kayange—who while on duty at a police unit at night— opened the door to attend to a knock only to be greeted with flying pangas.

“The thugs descended on him with panga knives, occasioning deep cuts in the process. Fortunately, he managed to escape and cried for help from the house of a station officer-in-charge, which is just close,” Ntcheu Police Station spokesperson Gift Matewere told a Malawi daily.

Big Fact:          It is not true that the sponsors of the criminals are responsible for the security lapse

Contrary to what the government wants us to believe, it is a lie that some people – yet to be mentioned – allegedly sponsoring  the criminals, are wholly responsible for the lapse in security.

I, for one, know who is to blame. Security provision has never ever been the responsibility of a party ousted from power nor criminal kingpins. If this were the case, in the US, the mafia dons would have been heading the CIA and the FBI.

Rather it is the responsibility of the Malawi Government to guarantee, provide, ensure and sustain security. After all, this what the tax payers among other things, pay for.

In this regard, there are at least three people in Malawi; all of them fed, dressed, driven or flown around, clothed, and pampered by the very taxpayers that are today living in fear; that are supposed to guarantee, ensure and provide security.

And these are: her Excellency the State President Joyce Banda, the Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Uladi Mussa and the Inspector General of Police Mr. LotiDzonzi. Full stop.

As before, I offer no apology for not sugar-coating mediocre performance, because the truth is that these three people are failing Malawians in as far as security provision is concerned.

One could go further, to bring a human rights angle to this failure. Denying Malawian citizens the right and freedom to go about their business, work, sleep and live in an environment where they are safe and secure from criminals and free from fear is a gross infringement of human rights.

While human rights groups and some shameless lawyers could eloquently argue otherwise, this remains a cardinal truth.

I will therefore repeat this: Denying Malawian citizens the right and freedom to go about their business, work, sleep and live in an environment where they are safe and secure from criminals and free from fear is a gross infringement of human rights.

Putting this differently: human rights-wise with respect to Malawians living free from fear, the present government  is not doing any better than the previous government.

Malawi Police Service: can they better be deployed to serve booze perhaps?

Again, I can add an economic dimension to this and accuse these officials of economic sabotage.

The point is: Malawi needs Foreign Direct Investment (and not necessarily aid) to develop. If we all agree to this,

  • Question 1:     Which investor will invest in Malawi if even policemen are not safe at their duty stations?
  • Question 2:     Who is mandated, under the republican constitution, to provide security and engender an environment conducive to economic growth?

Point made. Q.E.D.

While pro-government apologists and spin doctors can argue otherwise;  they will not change the fact that security is an unquestionable prerequisite for economic development.

Is Malawi’s insecurity predicament a symptom of a case of misplaced priorities?

All the above leaves one wondering as to the current government’s priorities. What for Chris sake’s are the government’s priorities? Mass rallies? Podium speeches? Lectures?

Talk will not guarantee security. Speeches will not ensure that policemen like Constable Kayange can go to work and return home to their families in one piece. Mass rallies and road shows, while serving as a source of entertainment, will not solve the problem.

Podium revelations that there is a sponsor who has been revealed etc. etc. will not resolve the insecurity crisis. What is required is action and if anyone needs suggestions, I have some suggestions.

How about beginning by resigning to pave way for others who can do the job? If resigning is too difficult, how about firing and replacing the people mandated to do the job (who are failing) with others? May be new blood will get to the root of the problem and crush it.

The point is: this is not matter of education or qualifications, the new IG’s CV  is quite long and impressive, but the works of his hands are Constable Kayange fighting for his life at Ntcheu Hospital.

At the opposite end, with humble education, is Uladi Mussa. But having been around for some time and having been blessed with a penchant for bluster, he too has no excuse. The works of his hands are criminals rummaging at will.

Fire the minister of home affairs and the IG.

This leaves us with the president. President Banda is touted as a ranking human rights fighter. The question is: has George Calin’s saying come home to roost?

George is credited to have posed an interesting question: “If crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?”

Paraphrased, was the president yesterday, fighting for our rights so that criminals can chop us to pieces right under her nose?

One word for Madam President: it is one thing to go around consoling victims of police brutality, and another to provide security and safeguard the human rights of 14 million people.

Are you up to the task? Do you need a commission of enquiry, a committee to investigate etc? Not on this one am afraid.

Forecast:

Unless these three people, entrusted and pre-paid handsomely to provide security to all Malawians at all times wake up and rise to the occasion:

  1. Malawi will witness more and more vigilante acts and mob justice. The result: criminals will become even more violent and deadly because with the prospect of facing vigilante or mob justice, there will be a very thin line between criminal and suicide missions.
  2.  The masses (including People Party’s 4 million? supporters) will, like the children of Israel in wilderness will remember and start crying for Pharaoh. And when that comes to pass, woe unto him and her facing rebellion from the very people they were supposedly shepherding from Egypt to the promised land!

Final word to my dearest president: stop playing to the gallery, show some guts and take the fight to the criminals and their sponsors. Take them head on and do it fast. It is your call and no-one else’s.  Prevention of death or injury is better than throwing “pepanis” around; now is the time to act, Malawians have had enough talk. Talk is cheap.

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