By Lumbadzi Nyasulu – Smash
While many people in Malawi face a risk of being killed through violence or brutality perpetrated by officers in the Malawi Police Service (MPS), the level of risk vary depending on gender, age and occupation, among other things.
Younger males face a higher risk as compared to older men and females in general.
Malawi’s border areas being the hotbeds for corruption, bribery, drug and human trafficking and black markets, are the genesis for police violence towards young men especially those doing crossborder trade.
This is because police officers themselves are part of the evil syndicates in the borders and mostly involve these unsuspecting young males in some errands to help move the law enforcers “goods”.
Such parcels have ended up missing in some cases, putting the lives of the bearers in danger as the police officers resort to violence or killing in an attempt to recover what belongs to them.
The number of victims of such police violence has risen to unprecedented levels in Malawi over the last 15 years.
Both victims of police violence in trade and victims of police brutality in general, report their issues to police stations or police units but none of them gets assisted because police officers actually protect each other.
“I reported an incident to the police and that I suspected one sergeant famously known as Papi. To my surprise, no policeman or officer was willing to handle my case.
“They kept pushing me from one office to another, from this police station to that police station. I suspected that the sergeant was larger than the police itself,” said one victim who chose to be anonymous.
And indeed, our investigation confirmed his suspicion.
Papi, who is rising fast through the police ranks, is highly favored by senior police officers and even by the ruling elite.
They use him in shady deals or syndicates of drug and human trafficking and order him to execute armed robberies, violence and killings targeting their opponents.
Like many other evil Malawian police officers, Papi goes away with such impunity because no law enforcement agency can touch him.
Recently, in Phalombe District, two policemen were arrested on allegations that they belonged to a criminal gang that was terrorising people in the district.
Mike Halya and Kennedy Msukwa were arrested following the arrest of James Dancun who was nabbed following the killing of a Mozambican who was robbed of MK800,000.
The gang also also robbed with violence MK3.2 million from Patrick Likhutu from Mulanje District.
It is doubtful if Halya and Msukwa are ever being prosecuted over their crimes because silence and secrecy have shrouded their matter at the moment.
Such disgusting behavior including corruption, arbitrary arrests, torture, beating and killing of suspects are very common among police officers in Malawi.
A lot of Malawians are leaving their country to seek asylum in other countries because their enemies or haters are using corrupt police officers to inflict pain in their lives.
“If you have the money, you can bribe some corrupt police officers and get away with any crime against anyone you wish to deal with,” remarked one business tycoon.
The citizens are unhappy and lost trust in the police and feel the army would be more capable of protecting them.