Officials in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs have said the appointment of Rodney Jose as acting Malawi Police Inspector General has no legal pitfalls, dismissing some of the country’s activists who have criticized President Peter Mutharika for his choice of the new top cop.
The activists claim Jose is not fit since he is named in connection with investigations into the late Malawi Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa’s murder.
Youth and Society executive director Charles Kajoloweka and rights activist Billy Mayaya described Mutharika’s appointment of Jose as a dent in the operations of the Malawi Police Service (MPS), saying the appointing authority should pick another candidate.
But officials from Justice Ministry said Jose is suitable to head the Police as the most senior cop after the retiring Inspector General Dr Lexten Kachama.
“Mr Jose has served Malawians competently and diligently in the capacity of Deputy Inspector General (Operations) since November 2014,” the officials noted.
The official said Jose has been appointed on merit pending confirmation by Parliament in accordance with the Constitutional provisions.
“The appointment takes cognizance of his illustrious service of over 35 years in the Malawi Police Service having been promoted to various ranks by successive governments since joining the Police under the Malawi Congress Party government,” he noted.
According the Justice Chambers, Jose is not a murder suspect in the Chasowa matter.
“Neither the Director of Public Prosecutions nor any other office has initiated criminal proceedings against him for the alleged murder or any other offence, “the legal officer in Justice Ministry said.
He noted: “The Commission of Inquiry did not make any finding that Mr. Rodney Jose was a murder suspect nor recommend that he should be prosecuted for murder or any other offence. What comes out clearly from the Commission of Inquiry Report is that Mr Jose was Commissioner of Police in the Southern Region and that he interacted with the deceased and his colleagues ( as he would interact with any other person) in fulfilment of the police’s core mandate to safeguard life and property.”
The officer encouraged the CSOs and other interested parties to re-read and revisit the Commission of Inquiry report in full for actual and accurate findings.
“From the foregoing, it should be clear to all well intentioned Malawians that Mr. Rodney Jose is a proper and suitable candidate to be appointed Inspector General of Police. It is wrong to politicise his appointment and it is clearly unfair to sully his service and reputation by unwarranted and malicious allegations and innuendos.”
He urged activists and commentators to be objective in criticising Presidential appointments, saying it has become a tradition that any appointment the Head of State makes is always received negatively.]
“It must be reminded to all Malawians that the retiring Inspector General, Dr.Lexten Kachama was also appointed by the same President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika. What is more surprising is that the issue of nepotism was never mentioned then by neither the CSO’s nor the so called political commentators. Remember always that we are all Malawians and that we are all one nation,” reacted the official.
Chasowa was a final year engineering student at the University of Malawi’s the Polytechnic in Blantyre.
He was a student activist and is alleged to have been used by police then to thwart the July 20, 2011 demonstrations from happening.
President Mutharika—through a statement from the Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara—on Monday announced the appointment of Jose who has replaced Kachama as police boss.
The statement said M Jose will operate in an acting capacity pending Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament approval.
Muhara announced that Jose—who was Deputy Inspector General (operations) before his appointment as IG—will be deputized by Duncan Mwapasa now responsible for operations and John Nyondo responsible for Administration.
However, some activists hope that Parliament—through the Public Appointments Committee (PAC)—which has the final say to confirm or reject the appointment will do the scrutiny of the appointee objectively.
Meanwhile, State House has also backed the appointment of Jose.
A statement signed by Presidential Press Secretary Mgeme Kalilani says President Mutharika has appointed Jose to “avoid leadership vacuum in the Police service” because the outgoing IG Kachama will be retiring in June.
Kachama has gone on leave pending retirement to make use of those leave days before his opportunity to do so ceases upon his reaching the retirement age.
According to Kalilani, former IG Kachama commenced his annual leave on April 1 2018 up to his retirement on 30th June 2018.
“What His Excellency the President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika has done, therefore, is simply to appoint the Deputy Inspector General of Police; Mr. Rodney Jose as Acting Inspector General of Police to fill the gap created by the aforementioned administrative arrangement,” said the statement dated April 4 2018.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :