President Peter Mutharika has appointed Rodney Jose as acting Inspector General (IG) of the Malawi Police Service following the retirement of Lexten Kachama, it was announced on Monday.
Kachama has retired after he served in several positions in the police service, the latest being that of a commissioner responsible for inspections, audit and performance for the Southern Region.
According to the Office of the President and Cabinet (Office), former State House Guard Commander Duncan Mwapasa and John Nyondo are Deputy Inspector General –Operations and Administration, respectively.
Jose was deputy IG responsible for operations before being elevated to head the police.
The new police boss was Police Commissioner for South during the murder of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa which a judge-led death inquiry reported several irregularities by police, including possible cover-up attempts in the murder.
The inquiry revealed that Jose facilitated a meeting where the police attempted to recruit Chasowa, then a Polytechnic student and a critic of former president Bingu wa Mutharika alongside his college activist students, to foil planned civil society demonstrations but later fell out with the group.
Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo is on record saying, Jose has no moral mandate to occupy the senior post at the police service.
OPC said the appointment is subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments of Committee of Parliament.
According to findings of the Commission of Inquiry which was instituted by the late Mutharika and was headed by Supreme Court Judge Andrew Chotcha Nyirenda, police officers who first responded to the Chasowa murder scene clearly suspected the deceased to be a murder victim. However, police changed positions later and referred to the death as suicide.
Several people, including the ruling DPP Member of Parliament Noel Masangwi, DPP’s Councillor Lewis Ngalande, were arrested in connection to the murder.