Government fails to dress law enforcers
Protecting citizens and residents’ lives and property is no simple task, such that those that execute it need to be well equipped. But, as SAMUEL KALIMIRA writes, this seems not to be the case in Malawi.
Some of the police officers who are protecting lives and property in formations across the country have stayed for five years without being dressed in new uniforms.
The result has been the spectacle of heavily armed law enforcers wearing rags.
The majority of those affected by the problem of resource inadequacy are junior officers.
Friday Shaker has further learned that the junior officers mostly affected do general duties.
The Malawi Police Service is supposed to provide a pair of trousers, shirt, sweater and a boot for male officers every year.
Female officers, on the other hand, are given similar uniform, just that they get a skirt and handbag on top of that.
One of the officers, who opted for anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the last time he received police uniform was in 2018.
“Because of our employer’s failure to provide what they are supposed to give us, we are forced to dig deeper into our pockets and buy the materials on our own.
“This is the reason some law enforcers are seen wearing worn out boots and clothes. Some police personnel even hire local tailors to make uniforms for them using pieces of cloth that resemble the colour of Malawi Police uniform,” the source said.
A female police officer from the Southern Region concurred saying it is unfair for them to be buying uniforms and other materials using their salary..
“Those at the headquarters know about the problem but they have decided to pay a blind eye to the situation. It is not good for officers to be wearing either torn or fading uniform.
“In fact, some female officers stopped wearing uniform long ago because some of them have outgrown the uniform. Factors such as pregnancy and eating habits contribute to the problem because one finds that uniform that could fit properly three or four years ago can no longer hold,” she said.
Another female officer from the Central Region said she has given up on prospects of ever getting a handbag from the Malawi Police Service.
“I have been buying handbags from secondhand item (kaunjika) sellers. This is because our bosses stopped giving us handbags that match with the colour of our uniforms,” she said.
Malawi Police Service spokesperson Peter Kalaya admitted that it has been a while since some officers received uniforms.
He, however, said the security agency is set to distribute new sets of uniforms soon.
Kalaya said the new set of uniforms will consider some changes in police dress code, adding that the institution has already signed contracts with suppliers in its quest to dress the affected officers.
“Management is aware that it has been a while since some, not all, officers were issued with uniforms
The good news is that, shortly, all officers in the service will be issued with new uniforms, which will include boots.
“The management already signed contracts with suppliers, who are in the process of supplying the materials to us. Uniforms issued will consider the changes in the police dress code as informed by our current uniform policy. Remember that we are a service,” Kalaya said.
Meanwhile, security studies expert Sherif Kayisi has described the situation as unfortunate.
“We should not expect good performance from the police when they go about dressed in faded uniforms and torn boots,” Kayisi said.