Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Navicha and chief director in the Public Sector Reforms Management Unit Seodi White, who is also chairperson of Forum for Concerned Women have remained mum on serious allegations of police brutality, including sexual harassment and rape of some wives of suspects at Nsundwe in Lilongwe and school girls at boarding schools.
White, who prides herself to fight violence against women, has chosen to be mum on the matter while Minister Navicha has also not spoken about it.
But NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) has described the situation as heartbreaking; and made a passionate appeal to State-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), President Peter Mutharika and acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa to take action.
“NGO-GCN is deeply disheartened by allegations of rape, defilement and torture of innocent women and girls in and around Nsundwe, M’bwatalika and Mpingu trading centres.
“The network is disturbed with reports that some of the police officers as dispatched to the areas on Wednesday, October 9 2019, raped women, defiled self-boarding girl students, tortured people, and looted private property,” reads a statement made available to Nyasa Times co-signed by NGO-GCN board chairperson Barbara Banda and national coordinator Joseph Njala
Meanwhile, Police say they have instituted an inquiry into sexual assault allegations against the cops.
National police spokesperson James Kadadzera says the inquiry will also cover defilement, torture and theft against the police officers in and around Nsundwe, M’bwatalika and Mpingu trading centres.
“The inquiry team which is headed by Commissioner Mrs Arlene Baluwa, comprises of different professionals who will investigate the matter in a transparent and independent manner,” says Kadadzera in a statement.
Kadadzera says based on evidence, all suspects identified will be treated according to the laws of the land without favour.
He then calls on people with information to share with the inquiry team for it to conduct a thorough, speedy and factual investigation.
MHRC executive secretary David Nungu has however said that the allegations of rape are criminal in nature and require investigators with special skills.
“Rape is a police case, but because some of the allegations apparently point to some police officer, we cannot trust the police officers to investigate themselves. We wish we had an Independent Police Commission with oversight powers; however, we will handle this issue as quickly as possible,” Nungu said.
The reports of mass rapes by the police officers have shocked the nation which is facing an unprecedented political impasse accompanied by violence and pockets of protests across the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :