By Rebecca Chimjeka:
Homeland Security Minister, Nicholas Dausi, has claimed that 850 live ammunitions and a number of hand-grenades and teargas canisters were stolen in Lilongwe during the mass demonstrations that took place on August 6 2019.
Addressing the press in Lilongwe on Friday, Dausi suspected that the missing weapons could be in the hands of “unscrupulous people”.
“During the August 6 demonstrations when demonstrators torched a police armed vehicle, about 850 live ammunition, 80 hand-grenades and teargas canisters were lost. We don’t know where these things are,” he said, without explaining what his ministry was doing to recover the equipment.
On Friday, the minister issued subsidiary legislations aimed at identifying protected places where demonstrations are prohibited.
This follows Human rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) initial announcement of the shutdown to airports and the country’s borders from August 26 to 30 2019.
According to the regulation, any person shall not hold demonstrations or an assembly in the protected places and those contravening the same commit an offence punishable by law.
However, Chancellor College-based political analyst, Ernest Thindwa, has questioned Dausi’s seriousness on the matter.
“How else do you explain loss of such dangerous equipment? It is not that police, as a collective unit, lack capacity to serve the nation but MPS [Malawi Police Service], over the years, has been reduced to a tool for the ruling class,” he said.
“This is one example that professionalism in the police service and public service is no longer a defining characteristic of public service.”
HRDC has been organising the demonstration to push Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah’s resignation, claiming she presided over May 21 tripartite elections whose results were marred by irregularities.
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