The opposition Malawi Congress Party has expressed its concern on the recent conduct by some police officers, who are allegedly assaulting civilians, while in the line of duty. The call has been made by the party’s Publicity Secretary Rev Maurice Munthali, in a press statement.
There has been a recent incident, last Thursday, when Police used teargas to disperse people that gathered at a Curios market in Blantyre where MCP vice president Sidik Mia made a stop over to talk to the people and distribute some of the party’s clothing.
In the same week Police are alleged to have attacked reporters of the Zodiak Broadcasting Station reporters Musase Cheyo and Towera Kumwenda when the reporters were doing their duty covering a police exercise to remove vendors from the streets. It has been established that the two journalists were attacked despite getting permission from the northern region police public relations officer Peter Kalaya earlier in the day.
In his statement Rev Munthali said ““This is against the objective and mission of a reformed police service We should not be living in fear. We ask the police to remain professional and avoid being used by the ruling elite. Malawi Congress Party is demanding that justice prevail by arresting those who were involved in the assault of civilians. The Party is concerned about the safety of civilians in the country and want assurance from the Police that they will focus on their duty of protecting civilians rather than victimizing them.
Government has not yet responded to the MCP calls and Home Affairs Minister Grace Chiumia has been silent about the issue. However , spokesperson of the police James Kadadzera fail short of accepting responsibility and rather chose to advise the general public on the need to get proper permissions from the city councils when conducting any events on public land. He clarifying that the Blantyre teargas incident involving Mia happened because police noticed a possibility of tension and the crowd had to be controlled.
The criticism of the police has been echoed by the Diaspora arm of the Party. MCP Diaspora Communications director, Chalo Mvula, agreed with the statement of his boss highlighting that “The Diaspora MCP is also genuinely concerned. We have seen increase in political violence recently and the last thing we would expect is for Police officers , who are meant to be providing protection, to be perpetrators of those violent conducts “.
Mvula went further to say that safeguarding press freedom is at the top of MCP priority and the party will never keep quiet when the police or anybody else are trying to make the environment hostile for the media to work on. Malawi Congress Party has issued an ultimatum for Government to issue an immediate statement to strongly condemn the harassment in question.