By Iommie Chiwalo
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s watchdog, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), written office of the Ombudsman following growing concerns over the way the Malawi Police Service (MPS) has been conducting itself recently when promoting officers into Police High Command.
The area of concern is not only the nepotism on its own but the outcome which CDEDI has single handedly pointed out recent events which was the citizenry had reservations on the conduct by the police, especially on their heavy handedness on unarmed and helpless citizens such as women, children and the elderly.
In a letter signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, observes that the use of excessive force on citizens when exercising their right to demonstrations and industrial actions; and victimization of police officers from the southern region are just but a few examples of conduct that bleeds the current glaring nepotism.
“It is against this background, therefore, that CDEDI is writing your office, to use the powers vested in it, through the Republican Constitution, to investigate and conduct a public inquiry on the above stated concerns. It is important to point out that what is happening at the MPS, poses a threat to the country’s national unity,” Namiwa says.
He further brought to light a number of issues that are bordering on nepotism in nature.
For instance, the letter which has been dully received by the office of the Ombudsman and seen by this publication has contents comparing two regimes on how Police High Command was constituted.
Namiwa wrote the Ombudsman that while the Police High Command was designed in such a way that it should reflect the social, cultural, and geographical aspects of our great nation, on the ground it is contrary.
“Our investigations after the meeting proved something contrary to what Dr. Kainja claimed during the meeting.
CDEDI has established that there is no officer from the southern region districts in the current Police High Command,” he says.
On a sad note thereby worsening nepotism claims, CDEDI further established that the IG sits on the interviewing panel for the PSC, for the recruitment of officers into the Police High Command, and that the IG makes recommendations to the commission, to base their decisions on.
“This is contrary to Dr. Kainja’s assertions during the meeting that he is not involved in the promotion of senior officers into the Police High Command. Therefore, reports about nepotism in the MPS, are not only valid but can be attributed to the current IG desire,” the Ombudsman Malera has been notified in the letter.
Namiwa has also quashed a statement from the National Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the MPS, James Kadadzera, dated 6th October 2021 which was headlined “FALSE ACCUSATIONS OF NEPOTISM IN THE MALAWI POLICE SERVICE’ saying was just an attempt to discredit CDEDI’s findings using legal jargons and sections since it miserably failed to prove its revelations wrong.
“In fact the statement contradicted what the IG said about the composition of the Police High Command, but opted to hide behind the laws. This is an attempt to use the law to victimize police officers from one region,” he says.
Namiwa, therein, acknowledges efforts by his organisation saying following information at hand it appears that CDEDI has successfully managed to break the silence on the victimization of some police officers, bordering on the issues of nepotism.
“Reports are now coming through, indicating that nepotism is not only being manifested in the Police High Command, but rather it is now a norm that is silently being implemented by Dr. Kainja, with the backing of the sections cited in the aforementioned media statement, that no police officer in the south should be given a chance to head a Directorate or a department within the service,” he says.
He elaborates that as it stands; Director of Criminal Investigations Emmanuel Soko, from Dedza; The Director of Police Mobile Services, Munthali from Rumphi; The Director of Prosecution services, Levi Mangani from Dedza; The Director of Road Traffic, Mabvuto Mbobo from Nchisi; The Director of Human Resource, Josiah Kanthiti from Dedza; The Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Develin Mwamkili, from Karonga; The Director of Community Policing, Aubrey Nyirenda from Rumphi; and The Director of Operations, Akims Muwanga from Lilongwe.
At regional level CDEDI has singled out the traffic departments as follows: Regional Traffic Officer (RTO) for South West, Mumba from Kasungu; RTO South, Mrs. Ndilande from Ntcheu; RTO Central East, Miss Tembo from Kasungu; RTO North, Mkunika from Kasungu; with no officer from the southern region in any of the high-ranking positions.
“Contrary to claims that these officers are appointed on merit, CDEDI would like to request you Madam Ombudsman, to ask the IG to furnish you with both the academic and professional qualifications of the officers that have been promoted into the Police High Command, in order to ascertain if indeed they qualify for such positions. We believe this is just an excuse to victimize the well qualified and deserving police officers from the south,” he says.
CDEDI has also brought to her attention that soon after his appointment as IG, prior to parliament’s approval, Dr. Kainja reshuffled the Police High Command, and the Heads of departments and directorates within the service, with other officers being sent into police establishments that do not match with their ranks.
According to the CDEDI Executive Director, the reshuffle, apparently was a move to clear the way for his favourites.
In a letter, CDEDI has also drawn the attention of the Ombudsman to the current recruitment exercise which is underway at the MPS.
“CDEDI has received a number of claims of nepotism and corruption, to an extent that names are being replaced by some favourites, while others that did the interviews and were shortlisted in the previous physical interviews, have been replaced by others, in a similar fashion as that of the Police High Command, and directors of departments at the police headquarters,”
The following is the list CDEDI has in its possession:
The Inspector General of Police: Dr. George Kainja, from Ntchisi;
The Deputy Inspector General of Police – Operations: Demster Chigwenembe, from Ntcheu;
The Deputy Inspector General of Police – Administration: Merlyne Yolamu, from Mchinji;
Commissioner for Central East Region: Arlene Baluwa, from Lilongwe;
Commissioner for Research and Planning: Sekani Tembo, from Mzimba;
Commissioner for Human Resource Management: Stan Kaliza, from Ntcheu;
Commissioner for South West Region: Ellobiam Banda, from Kasungu;
Commissioner for Central West: Peter Chasweka, from Mchinji;
Commissioner for South East: Chikondi Chingadza, from Dedza;
Commissioner for Eastern Region: Happy Mkandawire, from Mzimba;
Commissioner North: Richard Luhanga, from Rumphi;
Director of Finance: Lenford Kamphika, from Lilongwe;
CDEDI also managed to source a list of the Police High Command, from the previous administration, prior to the appointment of Dr. Kainja as the IG, and it was as follows:
The Inspector General of Police: Rodney Jose, from Zomba;
The Deputy Inspector General – Operations: John Nyondo, from Karonga;
The Deputy Inspector General – Administration: Duncan Mwapatsa, from Chiradzulu;
The Commissioner for Research and Planning: Dr. George Kainja, from Ntchisi;
Commissioner South: Silage Yusuf, from Zomba;
Zomba College Commandant: Demster Chigwenembe, from Ntcheu;
Director of Community Policing: Merlyne Yolamu, from Mchinji;
Commissioner for Eastern Region: Arlene Baluwa, from Lilongwe;
Commissioner for Central Region: Innocent Botomani, from Mulanje;
Commissioner North: Huldin Mlotha, from Mzimba;
Commissioner for Human Resource: Joseph Chambaluka, from Balaka;
Director of Finance: Tiadius Samveka, from Dowa.
Meanwhile the office of the Ombudsman has confirmed receiving the letter and that any outcome from its investigations will be made public through the media.
The police are still refusing the current claims that there is nepotism in the police service saying such thinking is just aimed at amplifying divisions in the service…