When the Malawi Parliament confirmed Rodney Jose as the new Inspector General (IG) of Police services, there were calls questioning his appointment from civil society organizations (CSOs).
The questionable appointment happened as government side managed to garner the much-needed support from independent members to confirm Jose’ appointment.
Rodney Jose amassed 96 votes to have the confirmation, as 55 legislators rejected his confirmation whilst two were absent.
The confirmation came after a bruising debate on the eligibility of Jose to be the top cop as the opposition members of parliament said he was not fit.
The leading opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Maxwell Thyolera in Parliament said Jose did not deserve the position because he has Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa murder case hanging over his head.
“A commission of inquiry implicated him as one of the suspects in the death of Robert Chasowa, today Mr Jose has not been cleared of the allegations,” said Thyolera.
Thyolera also said during his time as acting IG, the ruling Democratic Progressive
Party (DPP) cadets had become more powerful that they could beat up and harass opposition members and critics of President Peter Mutharika and the government.
The lawmaker added that DPP cadets could ambush leaders of the opposition and beat up and harass journalists and critics of the government in full view of the police.
“We are going towards the election, I do not know if we will have free and fair elections with such violence against the opposition,” he wondered.
Minister of Home Affairs Cecelia Chazama said Jose was hard working and patriotic Malawian who has served in the police for 35 years.
Fast Forward to after May Elections
The leadership of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has been daring Inspector General of Malawi Police Service Rodney Jose over threats he strained on anti-Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Dr. Jane Ansah demonstration.
The grouping has challenged IG Jose that he must desist from blatant political partisanship.
Patseni Mauka wrote the following in an opinion carried by the Maravi Post:
“In a shameless show of incompetence and arrogance, the Malawi Police Inspector General (IG) Rodney Jose has ordered Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to ‘forthwith’ ‘stop convening demonstrations until such a time when it would be possible to convene and hold peaceful demonstrations’. In what he must have thought was a strong letter that would make the HRDC leaders pee in their pants, the blue coloured IG gave several reasons for the decision.
In the letter which is circulating on social media Jose said, “The Malawi Police Service has recorded a worrisome number of cases of injury to persons and damage to property during demonstrations”. This is true but the blame should one hundred percent lie on the police. There are two types of injuries from the demonstrations; injuries on protesters caused by violence perpetrated by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadets and injuries on DPP cadets that occurred during confrontation with Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who intervened to protect demonstrators from the cadets.
The blame should be laid on the police because the protesters suffered the injuries in full view of the police who deliberately turned a blind eye in fear of DPP cadets. This has been the trend for a long time. The Police is no longer independent. It serves DPP’s interests.”
So, it appears IG Jose was overtaken by events. He could not guarantee peaceful demos without appearing partisan. Yes, it was time for him to go as what is needed is an IG that will appear impartial during these volatile times while making sure all Malawians are safe.
Elwin Mandowa is the Publisher and Managing Editor of The Maravipost