The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives [CDEDI] has challenged the Inspector General of Police to rise up to the occasion and stop barbaric acts by police officers before the situation gets out of hand and throws Malawi into a lawless state due to the worsening relationship between law enforcers and citizens.
CDEDI is cautioning the police not to be too excited with the enforcement of the Covid-19 measures at the expense of respecting peoples’ human rights, but rather they should always respect the country’s Constitution by taking the suspects to court where the appropriate punitive measures are given.
In a statement dated 6th March 2021 signed by its Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, CDEDI says it has noted, with total dismay, the abandonment by the Malawi Police Service [MPS] of their core responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Malawians in preference of administering mob justice on defenseless people in the name of enforcing Covid -19 preventive measures.
CDEDI says since the introduction of the partial lockdown in Malawi, the country has witnessed escalating cases of gruesome murders, armed robberies and burglary across the country’s cities and towns, saying the police have focused all their energy and manpower on the enforcement of the Covid-19 preventive measures.
The organization is asking the Malawi Police Service [MPS] to always be mindful of their constitutional mandate; that of ensuring internal security, law and order within the tenets of a reformed police service, and not as a police force.
…”We are demanding that all the police officers that broke into shops and bars in the City of Lilongwe on the pretext of enforcing Covid-19 measures, should be brought to book, including all the officers that were shamelessly caught on camera administering mob justice on some unarmed citizens.
Meanwhile, Minister of Homeland Security, Hon. Richard Chimwendo Banda MP, has condemned in strongest terms possible the actions of some police officers harassing people through beatings in the name of enforcing Covid-19 preventive measures.
In the released statement the Minister says the behavior of beating people and using any unnecessary force against non-compliant citizens, is not acceptable in this era, saying his Ministry will ensure that all officers who will be found using brutal means in enforcing the regulations are held accountable for their actions.
The Minister says his Ministry values the role police officers are playing in ensuring that all citizens are complying with the gazetted regulations, condemning some men in uniform for choosing to be brutal in enforcing the measures.
By Vincent Gunde