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IG Rodney Jose cautions HRDC on violent demos, “peaceful demos or I will shut them down”

Rodney Jose
Police Inspector General (IG) Rodney Jose

Lilongwe, July 29, 2019: Police have repeated calls to Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to stop conducting demonstrations in the country because they have become violent.

HRDC is conducting demonstrations calling for resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah for allegedly mismanaging May 21 elections.

The police and Malawi Defence Force have warned that they will not sit back and watch protesters disturbing peace in the country.

Police Inspector General (IG) Rodney Jose said this during a press briefing which was held at Police headquarters in Lilongwe, in relation to a letter which was issued to HRDC dated 26 July to stop the demos.

Jose said that as security agency, the Police cannot just sit back watching few people inciting violence in the name of demonstrations. He said criminals have taken an advantage of the protests to terrorise the country.

“As police we will be unable to protect the lives and properties, because the demonstrations have no longer been peaceful but rather turned into violence, which has led to more properties being damaged,” said Jose.

He said the police appeal to HRDC to call off the demos was an amicable way of solving the current situation. He said at times the police are forced to use teargas because the people indulge in violence.

“Teargas has been used to scatter crowds mostly when there is some sort of disobedience by the demonstrators. It is one of the tactics that the police have utilized.” said Jose.

He said the Malawi Police Service is not a politically motivated security agency as some people have been alleging on social media.

He said the police service works according to the constitution of Malawi and that it has been there from previous administrations.

Malawi Defense Force (MDF) General Vincent Nundwe said as one of the security agencies, the Army upholds the constitution and so deploys soldiers when there is need during demonstrations.

“When the Police have been stretched, the constitution of Malawi allows the intervention of MDF to support police; we work hand in hand when there is need to do so.” Nundwe said.

Meanwhile, the police have appealed to all Malawians not to infringe on other people’s rights in the name of demonstrations.

Reported by Esnath Kalawe, Malawi News Agency (Mana)

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