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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Police should not shield crooked officer

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Some heartless Lilongwe police officer thought that the best way to join the mourning of the death of eight people in a stampede at Bingu National Stadium on July 6 was to rub more salt on the festering wounds of the bereaved families by demanding K64,000 from them.

This evil-minded police officer claimed that the K8,000 that each of the bereaved families contributed from the K150, 000 the government gave them, was for a post-mortem at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

The unsuspecting and desperate parents, relatives and guardians surrendered the money to the officer right outside the hospital in Lilongwe.

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The police officer vanished into thin air, leaving the mourners more heart-broken.

As if that was not enough, the only statement that has come from Malawi Police Service (MPS) is that they heard about the incident and they thought their fellow officer was assigned by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma).

As expected, Dodma Principal Secretary, Chinthu Phiri, has distanced the department from the dubious claims by the police officer.

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Now, MPS would like us to believe that they are investigating the matter.

The question is for how long? We are talking about an incident that happened two months ago.

Surely, MPS should know the police officers who were assigned to the hospital, hence identifying the culprit should not take ages.

We are talking about lives that were lost here. I mean these are the same police officers who contributed to the deaths by their careless firing of teargas that only worsened the stampede.

We, therefore, refuse to be fooled by the empty statement of the police because, by now, they should have traced this culprit and brought him to book.

It is clear that MPS is simply buying time on the issue so that people should forget about the incident. MPS is trying to shield the culprit here.

In case the police do not know, there is a lot at stake here for the law enforcement agency.

The credibility and reputation of the police is at stake here.

We do not need to remind MPS that in as far as its job is concerned, trust is everything.

And that trust is supposed to be earned. The police earn the trust of the community through utmost professionalism and ethical conduct.

Maybe, sometimes it helps to say the obvious—that the role of the police is to protect the communities and not dupe them.

Therefore, the deplorable conduct of the police officer is not only heartless but also begs fundamental questions on the relevance of the law enforcers in society.

And this is the police that is supposed to be reformed.

To cut a long story short, MPS should act and now! Bring this fraudster to book with the urgency and seriousness that the matter deserves.

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