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Madam IG, you have failed!

Between the Lines


The Malawi Police Service (MPS) at present, led by Inspector General (IG) Merlyn Yolamu, has morphed into one of those inept State institutions and is significantly failing to do its job of ensuring people and property are safe.

If you are driving or walking through Limbe in Blantyre or Bwalo La Njovu in Lilongwe after 6pm, you are on your own.

There is no guarantee you will reach your destination without harm.

Now the danger has shifted to Mzuzu as well, a onetime calm and safe metropolis, where muggers are killing and robbing people at their pleasure.

If I had my druthers, I would immediately fire Yolamu because under her watch, MPS has become a failed organisation.

Security has appallingly deteriorated and Malawians and residents can no longer feel in this country often disguised as the warm heart of Africa.

It is a crisis and it must have already started being treated as such.

But we all know the leaderships we have at all levels.

With reports of brutal robberies and murders coming out on a daily basis, something urgent and drastic should have been done.

But as a country, we have become so used to incompetent ways of doing things that we no longer feel the whim to act fast even where lives are being lost without a cause.

Families in cities are living in fear because thugs and robbers are lurking in every corner in the darkness— sometimes even during the day.

It is as though there is no police in Malawi; that is why, tired with the absence of decisive action from those who are supposed to provide security, civilians are taking the law into their own hands by exacting mob justice on suspects.

It is an unfortunate state of affairs, but sometimes to such people, that appears to be the only way of sending across a message that whoever trespasses into their zones will not be kindly treated.

We are back to the days when thugs could go about their evil businesses in plain sight of police officers.

The problem is that the big wheels do not feel the impacts of the spike in insecurity because they have all the required safety at their disposal.

They have armed bodyguards wherever they go and live in houses with high poured-in-place and precast concrete walls topped with barbed wire and razor ribbons to keep intruders at bay.

Not everyone has that excessive luxury in this wretched country whose economic direction is also very uncertain.

That is why security and safety of citizens and residents was supposed to be a huge priority on government agenda, especially when we desperately need direct foreign investors to find this country attractive.

Such investors must be guaranteed security for their lives and property.

There is all manner of research that has concluded that security and development are significantly interlinked.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development states that security is a core government responsibility, necessary for economic and social development and vital for the protection of human rights.

It further points out that if governments are to create the conditions in which they can escape from a downward spiral where insecurity, criminalisation and under-development are mutually reinforcing, socio-economic, governance and security dimensions must be tackled together using an integrated approach.

It is clear that this is not happening in Malawi.

After all, there are several instances that clearly indicate that our leaders are not serious about anything regarding running a government and leading a people.

That lackadaisical approach to important tenets of governance and development is what has made Malawi to be where it is now.

History tells us we could have surpassed several countries in Africa in terms of development had we not abandoned everything that propels countries forward.

Among the worst things we did was to normalise corruption and allow insecurity to flourish.

It is humiliating for a country that has not experienced any serious armed conflict to be grappling with armed robberies.

Right now, we do not know what the government’s strategy on improving the safety and security situation in the country is.

If they are covertly implementing it, fine and good; but we all know that we have an administration that is failing on many fronts, as though our leaders were thrust into those positions of power at a time they were not ready to govern.

For a police IG, my gut feeling is that the safety and security of people and property must be a top priority.

If they fail to achieve or maintain that, there is no need for them to remain in that crucial position.

But, then, only a few officers in Malawi muster enough courage to resign, even when their positions are severely untenable.

It becomes even more complicated when you have an indecisive president like Lazarus Chakwera whose clear agenda for Malawi is still not clear.

It is doubtful if he is seeing anything wrong with how Yolamu is handling the security situation in the country, because, after all, he has shown to be as hopeless as those he appoints

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