Mutharika and Chilima
President Peter Mutharika and Vice Saulos Chilima

Written by Patseni Mauka

Soon after the May 2019 elections, Malawi Police Service (MPS) transferred 46 officers previously assigned to immediate-past vice-president Dr Saulos Chilima in a move the affected officers say is a form of punishment.

According to the Nation Newspaper, former head of Chilima’s security detail, Clement Gulo, was transferred to Likoma Island as officer-in-charge while his colleagues were transferred to police stations or sub-stations such as Mponela in Dowa, Nthalire in Chitipa, Kafukule, Kabwafu, Emfeni and Euthini in Mzimba; Ntchenachena in Rumphi, Usisya in Nkhata Bay and Chizumulu in Likoma.

Saulos Chilima
Saulos Chilima vying to unseat his Boss President Peter Mutharika with no structures in place

The relationship between the officers and their superiors reportedly soured July last year after Saulos Chilima fell out with President Peter Mutharika and declared he would challenge him in the presidential race in the May 21, 2019 Tripartite Elections.

During that time, in what was a clear political move, the 46 officers were transferred from the VP’s security detail to different stations. However, they obtained a court order that restricted Malawi Police Service from proceeding with the transfers.

Apart from the usual victimization of public officers, what is also disturbing is that a transfer to some areas in Malawi is deemed as punishment by the powers that be. As difficult to accept as it is, there are areas in Malawi that are so bad that senior government officials and ruling party officials use them for punishing employees that find themselves on the wrong side of established and unlawful practices.

Because they can’t send these officers to jail, they send them to places which in the eyes of the senior officials have conditions as close to jail as possible. These areas are so bad they are regarded good enough for punishment because they lack basic infrastructure for normal living. We are talking about average living not luxury living.

Suspicious police transfers at State residences

The areas have terrible roads, no tap water, no electricity, no proper schools and kids learn under trees. And yes, these areas are in Malawi. Yes, people in these areas pay tax just like every other Malawian. Yes, some call these areas home. They live there every day. Some were born there and have never seen anything else. The senior officials are happy to punish junior officers by sending them to these areas. They are basically happy that there are areas in Malawi that are bad enough to be good for punishing fellow Malawians.

The irony is that the senior government officials and so-called ruling party politicians are the same people expected to develop these areas. Every election year they go there to promise development. Sadly, they don’t fulfil their promises because they surely wouldn’t want to run out of areas bad enough to be used for punishing officers that don’t toe the ruling party line.

Therefore, concerned Malawians should be angry and express disapproval of such backward mentality. Areas that are deemed very bad should receive basic infrastructural development and not be celebrated for being bad. All Malawians in different capacities should not let other tax paying citizens live in the stone age while some politicians swim in unexplained riches.

Malawians should also not allow practices of illegally punishing officers for simply doing their job. Officers should not be punished because political

DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post