Police officers cry foul over ‘blood bonuses’

Some police officers in Malawi have accused national headquarters for selectively offering K60, 000 to some officers as ‘bonuses’ for ‘controlling’ the situation on July 20, 2011 when Malawians staged mass protests over the deteriorating social, economic, political and governance order.

Two police officers in Blantyre confided in Nyasa Times that they were concerned and worried that preferential treatment and nepotism were taking root in the Malawi Police Service and that this development was a case in point.

“I was among the officers on ‘operation’ that day (July 20) and I have been overlooked. Most of the officers that have received the K60, 000 were not even in the thick of things where we risked our own lives and that of our family members,” said a police officer who pleaded not to be identified.

His colleague alleged that most of the officers who had received the ‘blood bonuses’ originally hail from the Lhomwe belt districts of Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Phalombe and some from other districts such as Zomba, Balaka and Ntcheu.

Police brutality: Officers complain over bonus disbursements

He alleged there are hardly officers from the central and northern regions that have received the ‘bonuses’.

President Bingu wa Mutharika hails from Thyolo while the Inspector General comes from Chiradzulu, a few miles from the president’s home.

“There are rising cases of nepotism in the Malawi Police Service than I have seen before. Even the names that have been submitted for consideration for promotion this year are all from these districts. I wonder where we are heading to,” she said, also pleading for anonymity.

Police spokesman at the headquarters Willie Mwaluka said he had no knowledge about the alleged bonuses.

However, he told Nyasa Times in a telephone interview from Lilongwe on Tuesday “in any case”, even if there were such a thing, the concerned should have registered their concerns with the relevant authorities.

“You should have asked them to call me first before you ask me about it so that I should know what to answer,” he said without elaborating.

Mwaluka said there are properly laid down administrative procedures that ought to be followed by any concerned police officer over any matter

On July 20, Malawians took to the streets to show their annoyance of deteriorating social, economic, political, and governance situation. Police used live ammunition and at least 19 people were killed.

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