Nursing wounds of brutality


Blantyre based woman Anna Kachingwe, 35, claims to have been brutally assaulted and abused by police officers at Mzedi Police Unit (on the outskirts of Blantyre toward the Chiradzulu direction) on Tuesday, January 21, 2009.

Kachingwe, who is nursing bruises on her thighs and a back fracture, alleges that the incident happened when, together with a colleague, she went to visit their husbands Frank Kachingwe and Joseph Binda who had been arrested the previous night.

She said four officers present at the time of their visit accused them of being thieves by virtue of being married to the suspected robbers who were in custody.


“They told us that our husbands were being kept at Chikunda Police and not Mzedi as earlier notified, surprisingly they detained us as they hurled insults at us and brutalised us.

“They asked us to admit things we did not know about, they claimed our husbands had stolen property and hence asked us to reveal of their other dealings. But when we said we did not know anything, they beat us with big sjamboks,” she said.

Kachingwe added that their only sin was to question if the conduct by the law enforcers of forcing them to admit of things they had no knowledge about, was in accordance with the law that guides their work.


“We were abused and our rights violated and all I want is justice to prevail on the matter,” she added.

According to Kachingwe, she reported the incident to authorities at Chikunda Police [where her husband is being held], who recorded her statement and then issued her with a report to enable her get treatment at Namatapa Health Centre.

But spokesperson for Limbe Police Station Patrick Mussa, which oversees Mzedi and Chikunda police units, said they have not yet received any official report on the matter.

“In the wake of the public reforms, police officers are expected to conduct themselves professionally when handling people of various calibre. No officer is above the law, I hope we will get an official complaint and the law will take its course. Any kind of abuse by police officers is condemned in strongest terms,” said Mussa.

Gender activist Beatrice Mateyu said the incident shows that police are not responsive and committed to protecting women in Malawi.

“What the police are doing is to show the country that they are untouchable and that they can get away with all sorts of crimes, just like it is the case with the Msundwe issues. Police have to start acting now in protecting women,” Mateyu urged.

This comes at a time when police continue to keep the nation in suspense as they are yet to get to the bottom of alleged sexual abuses and assaults of women by police officers in the aftermath of a political protest at Msundwe, M’bwatalika and Mpingu in Lilongwe.

Not long ago, another police officer was locked up in a cell by his superiors, after he allegedly took advantage of a sex worker that had been arrested during night patrols, promising to sort her out in the morning.He was only freed after he paid the amount agreed with the sex worker.

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