Mob renders Chinseu Police Unit inactive
Like crime, mob ‘justice’, which is not justice at all, does not pay. As TIYESE MONJEZA writes, this is what some Zomba residents have learned the hard way, after some people put the lives of law enforcers at risk.
November 5 2022 started as a normal day for community members around Chinseu Trading Centre, Sub-Traditional Nkapita, in Zomba District.
On the day in question, traders went about their business at Chinseu Trading Centre, while farmers were busy tending their gardens in preparation for the onset of rains, with school-going children busy with academic work, among others.
Then, all of a sudden, some community members mobilised themselves and descended on Chinseu Police Unit, where they started arguing with police officers over the arrest of a woman suspected of stealing cash from a businessman in the area.
Law enforcers received a report that a woman had stolen money from a man she had spent a night with at one of the rest houses.
The man reported the matter to Chinseu Police Unit.
However, when police let the woman scot-free, some community members mobilised themselves, thronged the police station, where they threatened to “deal” with two police officers that were stationed at the unit.
Fortunately, Zomba Police Station officers got wind of the issue and rushed to their fellow officers’ rescue.
And that is how problems started for community members around Chinseu Trading Centre.
It is now five months since the police unit closed its doors to service users.
The police unit is the only police post in Zomba Lisanjala Constituency and, according to the 2018 Malawi Population and Housing Census, serves a population of 45,355 people.
One of the community members, Mercy Salamba nowhere to report when they have issues related to police work. Chuma, said they have
“We have been suffering. Come to think of it, a woman who suffers gender-based violence has nowhere to go to report the issue. Why spend K15,000 on transport to and from the nearest police station just to report a gender-based violence case. We, women, are the most affected,” she said.
She said Eastern Region Police officials advised them to be refereeing cases to Chingale Police Unit, which is almost 21 kilometres from Chinseu Trading Centre.
Nkapita Area Development Committee Chairperson Redson Sumani said, with no police officers, unscrupulous vendors are duping farmers by buying farm produce against the government’s recommended farm gate prices.
“The vendors are taking advantage of the absence of the police in the area to dupe farmers. When sending officers, we pray that they should send at least six police officers, considering that there are many people in the area,” Sumani said.
Zomba Civil Society Organisations Chairperson Nicholas Mwisama called for a conflict resolution meeting to iron out the differences before police officers are deployed to the police unit.
“Community members overstepped their boundary when they threatened to harm police officers and, now, they are suffering the consequences of their action.
“There is a need for a meeting so that the two parties can iron out their differences,” Mwisama said.
Eastern Region Police spokesperson Joseph Sauka said they withdrew the two officers to reduce the possibility of community members harming police officers.
He, however, said they have released a list of five officers to be deployed to Chinseu Police Unit.
“The delay to deploy these police officers is a result of the poor road network to Chinseu due to heavy rains, which made the road muddy. There was also the issue of lack of houses for police officers. As such, we gave community members the task of identifying houses for officers. Otherwise, officers will be deployed soon,” Sauka said.