By Lommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has penned parliamentary committee responsible for Public Appointments Committee (PAC) to register its disappointment and dissatisfaction with the performance of the Inspector General (IG) for the Malawi Police Service (MPS).
In a letter which this publication has seen, CDEDI has pointed out that soon after his appointment, Dr. Kainja made a pledge to Malawians that his immediate task would be to ensure that the police should gainits lost glory by among many others mending the sour relationship that existed between the law enforcers and the citizens, and improve the internal security.
But the situation on the ground, looking at the fact that almost two years down the line the situation is worse and far from being what was promised whereby Malawians are living in fear of their own lives and property.
“In short, the citizens no longer trust their own police. In the interest of transparency and accountability, CDEDI would like to put it on record that it has written and engaged the IG on a number of issues and yet to see changes.
Letter to PAC chairperson signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has included the highlights of engagements the organization had with IG Kainja on transferring senior officials without following the law and set procedures, nepotism as clearly manifested in the current composition of the Police High Command, departments and other police establishments.
The letter is also expressing selective application of justice; the case of the arrest, granting of bail, and the mysterious whereabouts of the former special assistant to President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, Pastor Martin Thomu, who is suspected to have smuggled a loan authorization bill onto the order paper in parliament.
As if that is not enough, PAC is also notified of Police brutality; the case of Thyolo and Mulanje where estate owners give money to the police to harass, torture and arrest the landless people who have nowhere to cultivate and are claiming back their pieces of land in addition to shooting at unarmed citizens; the case of two separate incidences in Bvumbwe, and another in Mulanje where two Primary School pupils were shot at on their way back from school.
Further, demonstrating vote of no confidence to Malawi police service, CDEDI has, in a letter, notified PAC about incident of throwing a teargas canisters at primary school learners; the case of Luchenza Primary School.
Further to the above, CDEDI reminds PAC of the police conduct of administering corporal punishment on suspects; the case of the enforcement of Covid-19 preventive measures as well as the suspicious relationship with the Rwandan police, a country that is infamously known for the crackdown on peaceful demonstrators and silencing human rights activists and opposition leaders.
“What can Malawi learn from such police?,” Wonders Namiwa in a letter.
Putting Kainja in a fix, according to CDEDI letter, is the questioning of the welfare of the police; the case of police officers not receiving housing allowances and route lining where the police stand for several hours waiting for the country’s President to pass without food, let alone a bottle of water.
PAC is also reminded to summon the police on the rampant gruesome killings; the case of the Polytechnic student in Blantyre; a legal practitioner found dead in Blantyre; a Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) official in Dedza, a private soldier for the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) in Kawale, Lilongwe; killings targeting security guards across the country.
Not to mention of rampant cases of police officers soliciting bribes from suspects to get police bail.
“If the list above is anything to go by, then one can be forced to conclude that we have a wrong person for the position of the IG.
“It is against this background that we have decided to write you Madam, to consider summoning Dr. Kainja to appear before your oversight committee to exonerate himself on why he should not be fired, given all this evidence that has been sighted above, which has all the indicators and signs of incompetence and or criminal negligence,” reads the letter from CDEDI.
Namiwa says the letter is a humble request made on behalf of all the well-meaning Malawians, whose lives and property are supposed to be protected by the law enforcement agencies the citizenry can confidently trust, with competent leadership from the office of the IG.