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Female police officers pen MHRC over sexual abuses

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Female police officers have written Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), complaining about sexual abuses in the police.

In a letter addressed to MHRC Executive Secretary Habiba Osman and endorsed by MHRC to have been received on November 2 2021, the women police officers complain of “injustices especially sexual abuses from our seniors.”

“If there is rampant abuse of women, [it] is here at Police, it has just become a norm now that for anything to go in a woman’s favour at Police, one has to surrender her body.

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“It may be good to some women who have no morals but some of us suffer in silence. We want you to investigate certain issues where women are abused sexually,” reads the complaint.

According to the petition, first is the awarding of ranks and promotions.

“Whenever there are rumours of awarding of ranks and promotions, our senior ranked officers will talk to you in all sorts of languages such as mukuumila izo ndi zanu, amzanu azidutsa muli pompo. Tithandize kuti nawe tikuthandize [You are not forthcoming for sex. Your colleagues will be getting promoted while you are static. Help us so we can help you in turn]”.

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The officers ask MHRC to intervene so that they can be considered fairly in the promotions, set for December.

On peace keeping missions, the women officers claim that “most women” who go for peacekeeping mission have had to have sex with their bosses to be considered for these assignments.

They claim: “Kupolisi kuti mzimayi zikuyendere mwachangu ugone ndi bwana ukwera pompo pompo [For a woman to rise quickly in the police, you have to sleep with the bosses]” says the petition.

Malawi Human Rights Commission’s Executive Secretary Habiba Osman confirmed having received the letter.

“I can confirm that we have received the complaint and we will investigate the matter,” said Osman.

Chairperson for the Human Rights Coalition Chairperson, Gift Trapence, also disclosed that they have been receiving similar reports and will conduct independent investigations.

“We have been receiving such reports where some police staff across the country have been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape and we will make our independent investigations on the matter,” he said.

HRDC has also called on the Office of the Ombudsman and the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate the issues.

When contacted, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said that the police are looking into the matter.

“We will look into the matter,” said Kadadzera.

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