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I did not kill Robert Chasowa—IG

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BY ALICK PONJE:

New Inspector General (IG) of Police, Rodney Jose, has hit back at human rights activists who are accusing him of being involved in the murder of Robert Chasowa, invoking the late The Polytechnic student’s spirit and God as witnesses that his hands are clean.

Some activists including Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, have on a number of occasions, tried to block Jose’s appointment and confirmation on the premises that he was implicated in the murder of Chasowa by a Commission of Enquiry instituted by former president Joyce Banda.

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But in an interview at police headquarters after a farewell parade for outgoing IG, Lexten Kachama, yesterday—where he also officially took over from his predecessor—Jose charged that his heart bleeds when he hears his name being linked with Chasowa’s death.

He said: “[The activists] have been making the accusations for a long time, but my conscience is very clear; my hands are very clean. The first witness that I never had a hand in Chasowa’s death is God. The second witness is the spirit of Chasowa itself. But Mtambo and Trapence have already convicted me.”

He further challenged anyone accusing him of having had a hand in the Chasowa case to produce evidence and that he is ready to stand in a competent court of law.

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On what he is planning to do to improve police operations in the country, Jose said he will fight for more professionalism.

He admitted that the police has failed in many ways and that Malawians have lost confidence in it.

“That is why I want to assure Malawians that we will change the police so that it represents the will of the people. It should be a people-centred police. We have to transform the police so that it wins back the lost confidence.”

On his part, Kachama said he was leaving the service a happy man having registered what he called numerous achievements.

He said: “During my time, the police introduced strategic points for security and rapid response for sensitive crimes. We also improved on crime management such that crime rates went down in the country. More officers got promoted and upgraded while their welfare also improved.”

Kachama also hailed the media for apparently playing a critical role in fighting crime, saying journalists have been an important link between the police and communities.

Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Cecilia Chazama, hailed Kachama for what she called his efforts to transform the Malawi Police Service (MPS).

She also said government appreciates the contributions Kachama has made to the service during the three years he was at the helm of the security organisation.

Kachama joined the police service—then called Malawi Police Force—in 1979 and was appointed IG in February 2015. He has since reached his mandatory retirement age.

Jose joined MPS in 1983 and was appointed IG by President Peter Mutharika in April this year. The 58-year-old police chief was confirmed by Parliament on Wednesday after 96 lawmakers approved his appointment while 55 rejected it with two abstaining.

But in a separate interview yesterday, Mtambo said CSOs will continue raising their concerns where they feel things are not working in government and that they are not going to leave Jose’s issue just like that.

He maintained that the CSOs are not saying Jose is guilty but that since the Commission of enquiry implicated him, he has to be cleared by a court of law.

“People should not misinterpret the law. We are saying he was mentioned in the commission of enquiry which is an official document and, therefore, forms the basis of evidence. Now that he has become the IG, will the police investigate him?” Mtambo said.

He also accused Parliament of betraying Malawians by confirming Jose.

But the new police chief argued that he was ready to stand in a court of law to defend himself if a case comes up against him now or even after he leaves office.

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