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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Jose’s appointment, parochial, nepotistic

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President Peter Mutharika appears bent on political self –immolation. While many gave him the benefit of a doubt, he is, by his own appointments, presenting himself as a parochial, sectional leader.

For the sake of the country’s corporate survival, he should rise above primordial instincts and become a father of all Malawians.

What has inspired all the outrage on social media is his choice of Rodney Jose to be acting Inspector General of Police which gives human rights activists and opposition parties yet another reason, as if they did not have enough already, to be frustrated and angry.

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The mysterious murder of the University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic student, Robert Chasowa, happened on Jose’s watch when he was Commissioner of Police at Southern Region Headquarters. We agree that Jose’s appointment is spectacularly unsuited to play the role of policing a country such as Malawi which embraces the ideals of democracy and strives for peace and transparency.

The fear is that perhaps Jose may advocate a brutal police force and maybe encourage Mutharika in some of his worst impulses as we approach the difficult time of elections. Our undeniable fears are that maybe Jose is an enthusiast for the use of force with a suspicion of – maybe even contempt for – diplomacy.

Like any president, Mutharika is entitled to surround himself with advisers with whom he is comfortable, though it’s unclear whether the President was drawn to Jose primarily because of he knows him and trusts him or because he is from the Southern Region. This week’s appointments show his bias once again. The IG is now from the Southern Region, so is his deputy Mwapasa. At Escom, the President removed Perks Ligoya, a southerner and yet again replaced him with another from his southern base. He has always ring-fenced himself with appointees from his Southern Region, thereby deepening the long-held fears of others that he has not overcome his well-known insularity.

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Mutharika should be told that sectionalism and nepotism are also acts of corruption. You do not wage war against poverty while indulging in sectional and sectarian favouritism.

The President simply does not need this. Many are willing to concede that he is only demonstrating political naiveté; now, however, is the time to radically change tactics. The country is in a bad shape, compelling that all efforts be made to rally all segments of the polity behind measures to reverse economic recession, defeat poverty.

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