MHRC has betrayed us, claim Chanco students
THE Students Union of Chancellor College (Succ) has accused the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) of letting the students down on the issue of police brutality on some students about a year ago.
In July last year, police in Zomba tear-gassed, beat up and locked up some Chancellor College students at the time they were protesting against the University of Malawi fees hike. Out of alleged terror that police officers unleashed on the students was video footage of a police officer using excessive force, slapping some defenseless female students and some disabled students struggling with teargas that police fired.
At the height of the issue the MHRC and the Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama promised to get to the bottom of the issue. But one year down the line, the government-funded human rights institution and law enforcing agency have not made public any of their findings.
Succ president Sylvester James said students are particularly not happy with the commission’s failure to release its findings.
“Following their investigation on campus, where they actually visited and did a meticulous inspection of all the evidence that was presented, we thought they were going to release the report immediately, reasonably within time, so that their report could be used as a basis for all our further steps and perhaps a good ground for the nation to appreciate what happened and who was wrong.
“But to our disappointment and dismay, the Malawi Human Rights Commission has not released any statement or precisely released any document to say their position or their findings following that investigation and as students of Chancellor College we feel a little bit let down,” James said.
Malawi Human Rights Commissioner, Patrick Semphere, who was part of the team that was appointed to probe the matter, said he needed more time to consult responsible officers. National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera also said he needed to get information on the matter from the responsible office.
James, however, said the pursuit for legal redress is still on and the lawyer that the Malawi Law Society (MLS) provided to support the students union already issued and sent a notice of the intention to sue Malawi Police Service to the office of the Attorney General.
He said if the office of the Attorney General fails to respond to the notice within the stipulated time, the students will have no choice but to open a court case against government. Over 27 students reported that police officers abused them.
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