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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Police can do better

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Every time the government enacts a law, one believes it does so with the interests of citizens and other law-abiding members of society at heart.

It is, we suppose, with such an understanding that the government put in place laws requiring all vehicle owners to have a certificate of fitness (CoF) and procure insurance. In our understanding, it is the desire of the government to ensure that all vehicles plying on the roads of Malawi are certified roadworthy and possess enough protection in case of emergencies.

The same laws make no exemptions regarding who can or who cannot have CoFs or certificates of insurance. The duty of ensuring that vehicle owners comply with such laws rests primarily with the Malawi Police Service (MPS).

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Hence, we find it disturbing that the MPS, whose mandate is to enforce the laws, is the first to break them by putting on the roads vehicles that are un-roadworthy because they have neither insurance nor CoF.

It is rank hypocrisy to have one law for the common people and another for government ministries, departments and agencies such as the police, especially when the same government reminds us at every turn that we are all equal before the law. One wonders, where do the police get the authority to override the law they are obliged to enforce? Who will guard the guards if they are the first to break the laws?

The vehicles they are carelessly exposing to harm’s way belong to the people of Malawi and the least we would expect the police is to treat them as such. It is our property even if the procurement itself is mired in controversy.

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Many a motorists pay through the nose to have insurance and CoF because they are acutely aware of the folly of noncompliance, which ranges from fines to having to pay huge costs in case of damage to third party property.

What happens when the police damage other people’s properly? It is a cavalier attitude that must be stopped. The police can do better than what they have already done. There is no use for the police to buy a hundred vehicles when it doesn’t have the wherewithal of keeping them on the road and lawfully too.

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