October 26, 2021

CDEDI Note with Concern the Mulanje, Thyolo Police Brutality

Malawi security forces fir teargas at crowds of protesters as a pro-democracy activist hands himself into police over his call for anti-government demonstrations (Footage by AFPTV via Getty Images)

The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives [CDEDI] says it has noted with deep concern continued unwarranted use of force on unarmed citizens, especially women, children and the elderly in the pretext of maintaining law and order when misunderstanding arose, cases in point have involved locals and estate owners in the tea growing districts of Thyolo and Mulanje. CDEDI says early this month, Police in Mulanje went on rampage in Mikundi village in the area of Traditional Authority Mabuka demolishing houses, beating up innocent villagers, allegedly in an effort to deal with vandalism and stealing of Seyama Tea Estate property.

The organization claims that there is no justification of police using force on unarmed and helpless citizens, hence CDEDI has regretted the animosity that police in Mulanje have created between them and the estate owners on one side, and the villagers, fearing of unprofessional handling of the villagers saying the matter has potential to deny the area’s peace, which everyone desires.

Sylvester Namiwa….not happy with unwarranted use of force on unarmed civilians…

In a statement signed by its Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa with the subject ‘’Police brutality in Mulanje and Thyolo must stop’’ CDEDI has asked Police Inspector General, Dr. George Kainja to within 14 days institute investigations on the aforementioned cases in Thyolo and Mulanje districts in order to bring all the culprits to book. CDEDI has challenged Lujeri Tea Estate which owns Seyama Tea Estate to devise a mechanism to reconcile the company and community members, including helping the traumatized women, children and the elderly to recover from the unwarranted police brutality. The organization says it has also noted the shameless attempt by Mulanje police to let alleged looting and stealing of Seyama Tea Estate property overshadow the death of Dinala Chiponde who was beaten by the estate’s security guards allegedly after finding him stealing trees belonging to the estate saying it is reported that the deceased breathed his last while receiving medical treatment at Mulanje District Hospital on 4th September, 2021. …’’We do not condone stealing, but we categorically condemn use of unwarranted force on any suspect as we believe police and courts are readily available to handle such matters, lest we continue losing lives needlessly as has happened in Mulanje,’’…reads the statement in part.

CDEDI says it believes that the police being professional, have civil methods that they are supposed to use when searching for stolen property and or dispersing or controlling crowds, unlike the use of teargas and excessive force which is turning out to be the norm. It continues to say that the Mulanje incident has reminded Malawians of other acts which include recent firing of teargas on learners at Luchenza primary school and the terror that was unleashed by Police on a 64 year old Estele Maviyaye in Thyolo 3 months ago.

Meanwhile, a video clip which is circulating in the social media platforms is depicting a woman who was allegedly brutally beaten by two police officers in an attempt to rescue her innocent husband from beating by the same police, the woman claims to know these police officers from Mulanje police station. The woman while shedding tears down from her cheeks is allegedly claiming that she and fellow women are being denied access to visit and see their husbands with ready prepared food in police cells at Mulanje police station.

By Vincent Gunde

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