Lilongwe, March 6, 2021
UPDATES ON SECURITY LAPSES, POLICE BRUTALITY AND TEACHERS’ GRIEVANCES
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has noted with total dismay, the abandonment by the Malawi Police Service (MPS) of their core responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Malawians, in preference of administering mob justice on defenseless people in the name of enforcing the Covid-19 preventive measures.
Since the introduction of the partial lockdown in Malawi, the country has witnessed escalating cases of gruesome murders, armed robberies and burglary across the country’s cities and towns. Ironically, the police have focused all their energy and manpower on the enforcement of the Covid-19 preventive measures, leaving a lot of lives at the mercy of these merciless murderers, who are going around door to door, terrorizing innocent Malawians. Gone are the days when the police would mount roadblocks and spot checks on some selected roads in search of various items, specifically weapons, stolen goods, illegal immigrants, etc. Nowadays, it is a common site to find the police stopping cars in search of people that are not wearing face masks so that they can either whip them or threaten them with fines.
It is against this background that CDEDI would like to challenge the Inspector General (IG) of the MPS, to rise up to the occasion and stop these barbaric acts by the police officers, before the situation gets out of hand and throws Malawi into a lawless state due to the worsening relationship between the law enforcers and the citizens.
Secondly, CDEDI is cautioning the police not to be too excited with the enforcement of the Covid-19 measures, at the expense of respecting people’s human rights, but rather they should always respect the country’s Constitution by taking the suspects to court where the appropriate punitive measures are given. The MPS should always be mindful of their constitutional mandate; that of ensuring internal security, law and order within the tenets of a reformed police service, and not as a police force. It is for this reason that CDEDI is demanding that all the police officers that broke into shops and bars in the city of Lilongwe on the pretext of enforcing Covid-19 measures should be brought to book, including all the officers that were shamelessly caught on camera administered mob justice on some unarmed citizens!
CDEDI’s position on the current standoff between government and the teachers in public schools is simple and straight forward; Teaching was classified by the Presidential Task force on the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020, as a profession that is at risk. It is surprising, therefore, to note that government has put its foot down, and has sworn never to give the teachers the risk allowances, and yet the same government is currently busy splashing out money to some individuals, in the name of Covid-19 cushion measures. CDEDI has learnt with shock, the news that the Malawi government is giving out MK70, 000 each to some individuals in the country’s cities and towns, as a cash transfer mechanism to vulnerable households. The criteria of selecting such vulnerable households, however, has not been made public.
CDEDI has been made to believe that such underhand tendencies of splashing out cash is an indication that government has enough money in its coffers for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, hence our demand to end the current standoff between the teachers and government by giving the teachers the risk allowances. In the same vein, CDEDI is challenging President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to come out publicly and inform Malawians on the criteria the government is using to identify the beneficiaries in the current social cash transfer, which is meant as a cushion measure for the Covid-19 pandemic, and declare publicly where the funds have been sourced from.
Should the current standoff between the teachers and the government remain unresolved by Wednesday, March 10, 2021, CDEDI will be forced to lead Malawians of goodwill, whose children’s basic right to education is being violated, and all Malawians that are sympathizing with our children who go to public schools, to come out in their large numbers and join a nationwide solidarity march to add voices to the teachers’ demands for risk allowances so that our children should go back to class.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others, CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.
CDEDI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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