…as thousands march in Lilongwe


Opposition lawmakers yesterday threw spanners into the debate on the appointment of Duncan Mwapasa as a new Inspector General (IG) of Malawi Police Service.

When Parliament resumed sitting yesterday morning, lawmakers on three occasions failed to reach a consensus on a bill to allow government to borrow K27.7 billion from the African Development Bank for the Nacara Corridor Development.

The development took a better part of the morning which left the legislators with limited time to debate Mwapasa’s appointment, considering that the House rises at 12:30 on Fridays.


Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa moved a motion to extend the sitting time but the motion was pronounced irregular since it was introducing a matter outside the official sitting time.

Speaker of the House Catherine Gotani Hara then adjourned the House to Monday.

“We cannot work against our standing orders which state that we cannot continue debate beyond the stipulated working hours,” Hara said.


The development did not go down well with lawmakers on the government side of the House who remained seated when Hara was walking out of the Chamber.

Efforts to talk to Nankhumwa on what happened in the House proved futile.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) member Macdonald Sembereka expressed joy at the blocking of Mwapasa’s appointment.

“We are happy that MPs have blocked the attempt by government to introduce the motion in order to confirm Mwapasa as Inspector General of Malawi Police Service. We expect that the members will maintain their stand not to confirm Mwapasa,” Sembereka said.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters in the ongoing Anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations turned up yesterday in Lilongwe.

Speaking to the demonstrators at Capital Hill on their final day of four-day protests, HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo vowed that demonstrations will continue even if it will take five years before Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah resigns.

Mtambo said HRDC will soon announce the dates of more wave of demonstrations to be held in Blantyre and Mzuzu.

Malawi Defence Force provided security during yesterday’s demonstrations.

HRDC has been holding a series of demonstrations since June 20 in an attempt to force under fire Ansah to resign.

Mec declared Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) torchbearer President Peter Mutharika, winner of the elections with 1, 940,709 million votes, followed by Malawi Congress Party President Lazarus Chakwera, with 1,781,740 votes, and UTM president Saulos Chilima, with 1,018,369 votes.

Mwapasa first served as guard commander for former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

Shortly after Bingu’s death in April 2012, he was posted from State House to Rumphi Police as officer-in-charge.

Mwapasa was one of the 11 people detained on treason charges during Joyce Banda’s regime and was later indicted by the police.

The incumbent named him his guard commander in 2014 and promoted him to deputy IG responsible for administration in 2015.

In August, Mutharika named the interim IG of MPS to replace Rodney Jose, who went on holiday ahead of his retirement this month.

The appointment of Mwapasa as acting police chief stirred confusion, with HRDC threatening to mobilise Malawians and Parliament to reject him.

HRDC Deputy Chairperson Gift Trapence then said the appointment would compromise the independence of the security agency because Mwapasa is a ruling DPP sympathiser.

Mwapasa, however, said he is not a DPP supporter.

Instead, he promised Malawians “a very professional and non-selective police service” which will ensure people’s lives and property are protected.

Mwapasa comes from Thyolo, a DPP stronghold.

However, he said where a person comes from has nothing to do with professional conduct in the line of duty.

The appointment came at the height of post-election protests in which Mutharika ordered the police and Malawi Defence Force to use “any force necessary” to stop protestors who wanted to close borders and airports in August.

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