Police take backseat in Msundwe rape probe

Chris Tukula

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been asked to take over investigations into allegations of rape and defilement of women at M’bwatalika and Msundwe in Lilongwe.

The Malawi Police Service (MPS) announced that IPCC has been asked to take over the investigation in a statement which the former’s spokesperson James Kadadzera has signed.

In the statement, Kadadzera says MPS is of the view that investigations leading to the leaked report [whose contents Malawi News published two weeks ago] were rendered questionable mainly due to failure to identify any suspect and validate complaints that police investigators harassed the witness.


“The concern emanates from the fact that the service is investigating its officers. The service assures the nation that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) has accepted to take over a leading role in the joint investigations. The involvement of the service will thus be restricted to the provision of support and cooperation in line with Section 130 of the Police Act. This will take away the concern of actual or perceived bias,” the statement reads.

The statement adds that the leaked report did not represent MPS’s official position on the matter.

“[The] service is mindful of the fact that some individuals and groups have questioned the impartiality of the service during the previous investigations.


This follows bias perception by the public of a leaked report of investigations by the Malawi Police Service (MPS), dated February 7 2020,” Kadadzera indicates.

However, IPCC Director Chris Tukula said IPCC was not ready to start the probe at the moment.

“We are meeting with stakeholders next week to see where we are with resources to see the gaps we have. We are not ready as I am speaking but, after we meet the stakeholders, we will start. Even the police were being assisted despite their natural capability to hold investigations.

“So, this is a special kind of investigation. We need to identify special investigators. The other stakeholders are still there, it is only the police that have withdrawn from the matter,” he said.

The investigation comes after MPS, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and the United Nations signed Terms of Reference on fresh investigations into the alleged crimes by police officers before the fresh presidential poll last year.

Meanwhile, MHRC Executive Secretary Habiba Osman has said the commission is happy with MPS’ decision to withdraw from the matter.

“We are happy to note that the police have come out to make their position known by their statement and bringing in the IPCC is also great as this strengthens gaps, where the case is concerned,” she said.

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