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Police officers await IG’s risk allowance promise

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By Yohane Simon 

Police officers in the country have expressed frustration with the delay by the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to fulfill the promise which the Inspector General of Police made last year to give them Covid-19 risk allowances.

The junior officers we have spoken to from a number of police establishments across the country suspect that their senior officers at Area 30 may be getting Covid-19 allowances, yet they are failing to channel the same to junior officers.

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“It is unfortunate that our management is failing to facilitate our allowances despite the service making the promise to provide us with the allowances last year,” said one of the officers from Zomba. The police officers revealed that in January this year, their superiors at Area 30 requested each officer to provide a bank account. The officers said this was strange because the headquarters already has the bank accounts through which it pays their salaries. We were surprised that management was asking us to submit bank accounts for receiving Covid-19 risk allowances yet they already have our bank accounts which they use to pay our salaries every month. This is suspicious,” said one officer.

Another officer said; “Akungodya okha ma allowance a Covid ife osatipatsa. [They are eating alone covid-19 allowances]. They are visiting each district to monitor operations yet we are already on the ground in the districts. They only provided us with money for fuel so that we can conduct enforcement of the Covid-19 regulations,” said another officer.

On 28 August last year, the Inspector General of Police George Kainja assured police officers through a wireless message that government was working towards fulfilling the Covid-19 risk allowances provision.

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“The Inspector General is grateful to inform all police officers that government is addressing the issue of Covid-19 risk allowances. In view of this, the Inspector General wants to assure all police officers to be patient as the government is not relenting in implementing the same for all police officers since they are also at higher risk to the pandemic. The Inspector General is urging all police officers to observe our police discipline. Treat [the matter as] important,” reads the wireless message signed by a K.D Mulezo who is Assistance Commissioner of Police responsible for Service Administration.

When contacted on the matter, National Police publicist James Kadadzera refused to comment. Instead, he said the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 was better placed to answer on whether the Malawi Police Service received money for risk allowances or not.

“I refer you to the presidential committee on Covid-19 to clarify if at all police officers are receiving risk allowances due to the pandemic,” he said.

However, our efforts to reach either of the co-chairpersons for the Presidential Taskforce proved futile as they could not pick our calls.

The police officers’ case comes as teachers from public schools have been pushing authorities to start giving them Covid-19 risk allowances for them to resume teaching.

For two weeks now, the teachers led by their national union, Teachers Union of Malawi, have been on strike to force government to start giving them allowances for the next six months starting from March this year.

Government has turned down this request, arguing it is inappropriate to do so. However, it says it will prioritise the teachers on the Covid-19 vaccine programme which is expected to roll out on Wednesday next week.

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