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How to lose elections III

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The acting Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose is a bonafide Malawian and nobody can take that away from him.

On that score, he has a right to be appointed acting Inspector General of Police by President Peter Mutharika, as it has happened this week.

The President too is constitutionally empowered to do so and he earned this right in 2014 when a simple majority of those who went to the polls entrusted him with five years to govern this nation.

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The only catch to this whole arrangement is that it is not a blank cheque for the President to do as he wishes as he must exercise this authority, this power of appointing, with caution and in the best interest of Malawians.

This is also guaranteed in the Constitution that political power is exercised upon the sustained trust of the power.

It is this standard that I feel has been compromised when the President appointed Jose as acting Inspector General of Police this week and here is why.

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There is a murder that happened in 2011 that this country has been unable to solve till today.

A University of Malawi fifth-year engineering student, Robert Chasowa, was found dead, legs dangling in tattered shorts on a cold concrete at his college, The Polytechnic.

This happened on a Friday night.

During the morning of the following Saturday, the Police PR machinery got busy, visiting media house newsrooms, unprompted, brandishing a fake suicide note that the late Chasowa allegedly wrote.

The public suspected foul play but this was only confirmed in 2012 when Joyce Banda appointed a commission, headed by the present Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.

The commission’s report was very categorical in its conclusion that Chasowa was murdered in cold blood.

Some people were arrested but their cases have petered out, especially after the DPP government was returned to power in 2014.

Simply put, the public and the Chasowa family are still in the dark as to who killed their son and why he was hunted down and murdered in cold blood as if he was a dog in a democratic 21st Century Malawi.

There is no evidence that the acting Inspector General of Police pulled the trigger but there is ample evidence that he and the whole Police system dealt with Chasowa and his friends in a project that was meant to stop the second major demonstrations against bad governance of the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s government in 2011.

This was when Jose was Police Commissioner for the South.

Later, this relationship went sour and, at the tail end of it, Chasowa was murdered.

Knowing this information, the President should have been sensitive to the family of Chasowa, which is yet to get justice and closure on the matter as his killers have not been brought to book.

Apart from the lack of justice and closure, the family must now also contend with the fact that one policeman, whose name featured highly in the commission’s report to have dealt with their son in his final days, is now the Inspector General of Police.

I repeat; this was insensitive on the part of the President and his advisors; little wonder it qualifies for my series on how to lose elections.

The DPP strategists have rightly figured out that, at the moment, the main threat to the party being voted back to power next year is the MCP, which is making inroads everywhere despite internal fights.

The only problem is that the DPP’s strategy is to paint MCP in the same old manner of its checkered past of brutality against some Malawians such as the four Cabinet ministers who were murdered in Mwanza in 1983.

This has various problems. First, it assumes DPP itself is clean when it has the murder of Chasowa on its hands to account to Malawians about.

Then there is Issa Njaunju of ACB who was brutally murdered in Lilongwe on DPP watch and until today, his case has not been solved.

What about the 20 innocent young men who Police mowed down on July 20, 2011 all because they were protesting against misrule and bad governance?

The DPP itself is full of former MCP operatives during one party rule such as Information Minister Nicholas Dausi and Trade Minister Henry Mussa.

Then contrast that with MCP and who is on top in the party now.

In a nutshell, DPP is pursuing a dangerous strategy that can backfire by calling MCP a crocodile party, a thing that even the President is doing.

The strategy assumes that Malawians are daft in this day and age to decipher what is important to them and their children and what is not in the 21st Century.

DPP should simply ask itself one question: Would an 18 or 19 year old kid who will vote for the first time care more about what happened and is buried in the past than who has a better plan for better prospects for better quality of life when he or she finishes school?

This, coupled with insensitive appointments, to Malawians is one hell of a sure way on how to lose elections.

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