Malawi Human Rights Commission takes swipe at police


The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has expressed concern that some of the violent incidents of recent weeks have taken place in the presence of law enforcers.

MHRC has also called on President Peter Mutharika to come out strongly and condemn the incidents of politically motivated violence in Rumphi and Nsanje districts as well as violence motivated by beliefs and myths in Mulanje and surrounding districts.

“Leadership does not lie in one’s designated position but in his ability to take the first step and put forth solutions to the ills of society,” a statement from MHRC which was released on Friday reads.


The statement which tackles political violence and bloodsucking attacks condemns police officers who stood idly while the perpetrators unleashed acts of violence on others.

MHRC Chairperson, Justin Dzonzi, who has signed the statement, says law enforcers’ detachment stirs public frustration, which leads to mob justice at times.

“The pattern of inability of the law enforcers is more [sic] pronounced in cases of politically motivated acts of violence as was the case in Nsanje Lalanje and Bolero in Rumphi. The commission notes that this failure by police to act decisively may emanate from political interference in their operations by high-ranking party officials and even Cabinet ministers,” the statement says.


The body then says police has a constitutional and statutory duty to ensure the safety of the people of Malawi, adding that failure to investigate and arrest suspects and perpetrators of violence is a great cause for concern.

“This systematic failure has been a catalyst for public fear and eventual vicious cycle of violence. The commission trusts that the police will bring to book all perpetrators of killings and mob justice in Mulanje, Nsanje, Mzuzu and Rumphi transparently and expeditiously,” it says.

MHRC further appeals to Malawians to coexist with those of different political views and desist from being used by political leaders to perpetuate acts of violence in the country.

MHRC, therefore, says it will engage stakeholders involved in the disputes through dialogue so as to find amicable solutions, apart from further monitoring the role of various stakeholders in all sectors and, where necessary, naming and shaming those who indulge in practices that incite violence.

MHRC also says the violence in Mzuzu City, where city council offices were set on fire and the Mayor’s house was vandalised, was a result of endemic failure, laxity and wrong decision-making by the city council.

It notes that the city councils constantly engage in acts of demolishing illegally constructed structures but, strangely, the illegal buildings are built during the day in full view of members of the general public and city officials.

“However, it would appear that instead of stopping the illegal constructions, the city councils wait until when [sic] such structures are completed or after the squatters have been put to a considerable expense before taking any action,” MHRC says.

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