Mukhito: Finest cop or worst ever Inspector General?

A recent report by the prominent Transparency International (TI) revealed that the Malawi Police is the second worst corrupt institution in among six countries surveyed in Southern Africa.

The countries include Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Mozambique. The survey was done between 2010 and 2011 and over 6000 people were interviewed. Malawi scored 57 percent just below DRC which had 64 percent (the worst).

This reminds me of some interesting remarks made by Malawi’s Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito in his New Year’s party speech.

Passing parade: Police chief Peter Mukhito inspecting a guard of honour

The police chief asked the police personnel to desist from corruption and mistreatment of suspects. He further asked the donor community for crowd control equipment during riots.

These remarks show an interesting admission that the Malawi Police Service has not done well under his guard that he allowed serious problems (corruption) to develop.

The above, combined with his handling of lecture Blessings Chinsinga case (interrogation), and the murder of late Robert Chasowa, may make one reflect on his professional capacity- judge for yourself.

It does take some courage to admit shortcomings under one’s own responsibility, and some members of government could take example of Peter Mukhito in this respect.

Come to think of it: Bingu wa Mutharika took responsibility for the fuel shortages, albeit in some roundabout way, when he placed responsibility at the MCP and UDF governments, that he was part of himself (latter).

Mukhito’s remarks in his New Year’s speech were indeed very nice. But they do not improve the situation on the ground. At his position of Inspector General, we may expect him to be a man of action, not just a man of talk. We may ask Peter Mukhito: what has he done besides talking.

He knows just as well as you and me that donor money does not fall from heaven like manna. Which donors has he approached? Which proposals have been submitted? How was their reaction? Which follow ups have been made? Which programs is the police service executing at the moment to discourage corruption and mistreatment of suspects?

As citizens of Malawi we are entitled to protection from police violence and corruption, and since this appears not to be the case we must at least know what the respected Inspector General is doing about the problem.

There have been reports of his boys demanding bribes (we appreciate that few have been prosecuted) to release suspects on bail, to assist complainants, etc. As the big man, Mukhito has failed to take a keen interest to save the bruised face of the institution.

But unless President Bingu wa Mutharika rests this man (because of his involvement in the Robert Chasowa murder), no matter how sweet statements he can design Malawi Police’s image will remain dented.

And all the dirties Malawians have been hearing of the country’s top cop, one can only question Mutharika’s thinking capacity when he goes public and says Mukhito is the best Inspector General the country has ever had.

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