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State House insists Lexten Kachama not fired

The State House is insisting that Inspector General (IG) of Police, Lexten Kachama, has not been sacked but is on leave, pending retirement.

In a statement released Wednesday, the State House says the appointment of Rodney Jose as acting IG came about following Kachama’s imminent mandatory retirement on June 30 this year.

The appointment of Jose has sparked controversy, with the Malawi Law Society (MLS) saying the appointment is unconstitutional.

Human rights activists and political parties have joined the bandwagon of those condemning the move, asking President Peter Mutharika to reverse his decision, citing Jose’s alleged involvement in the death of a Polytechnic student in 2011.

The Polytechnic student, Robert Chasowa, who was one of the students reportedly recruited as an informant by the Malawi Police Service (MPS), was murdered, a Commission of Inquiry appointed by former president Joyce Banda to investigate his demise revealed.

Presidential Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, says in the statement that the decision to appoint an acting IG is meant to avoid a leadership vacuum in MPS while Kachama is on leave pending retirement.

“According to government records, Kachama reaches mandatory civil service retirement age on June 30 2018, as such, he has proceeded on annual leave for the year 2018 pending retirement to make use of those leave days before his opportunity to do so ceases upon his reaching the retirement age,” reads the statement.

The statement further indicates that Kachama, who rose through the ranks to become the IG, commenced his annual leave on April 1 and that it shall take him to the date of his retirement, which is June 30 2018.

“What President Peter Mutharika has done, therefore, is simply to appoint the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Rodney Jose, as acting Inspector General of Police to fill the gap created by the aforementioned administrative arrangement,” reads the statement.

But MLS President, Mwiza Nkhata, has described the appointment of Jose as illegal because the Constitution does not allow the President to appoint an IG in an acting capacity.

“The tricky part is that the law does not qualify the acting position, whether that is subject to confirmation by Parliament or [someone is] acting. There is no need,” Nkhata said.

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