Lilongwe, 25 April, 2020
MALAWIANS ARE LIVING IN FEAR- MR PRESIDENT
While the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) commends government for swiftly bowing down to some of the demands by the striking junior prison staff in the country, CDEDI and indeed many peace loving Malawians have reservations on a number of issues as regards to how government handled the matter.
On April 24, 2020 Malawians had a rude awakening to witness running battles with gunshots of live ammunition being exchanged between the Malawi Police Services (MPS) and their brothers in arms the Prison Services (PS). This was a reminiscence of the events that happened in 1993 between the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) and the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) a development that led to disarmament and subsequent disbanding of the MYP through Operation Bwezani.
For a start, the Immigration, Prison and Police fall under one line ministry; Homeland Security formerly known as Home Affairs. In simple and plain language they are children of the same family. Therefore, it was not only shocking, but unexpected for the Police and Prison personnel to exchange ammunition.
On the other hand, these two entities operate as directorates that are independent of each other. Now that said, one would wonder as to who instructed the Malawi Police to invade the Prison territory? It is against this background that CDEDI believes that someone somewhere in government is not doing his/her job correctly.
If the videos and pictures that have gone viral on social media are anything to go by, then one can safely conclude that Malawians are not in safe hands. Such incidents have instilled fear and panic among peace loving Malawians.
Furthermore, they raise fears as to what holds the future of the MPS and PS directorates based on such ugly and violent scenes that have been witnessed in Mzuzu, Chichiri and Zomba?
CDEDI is therefore, calling upon President Arthur Peter Mutharika in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces in the country to institute an investigation to ascertain as to what transpired for the state agents to open fire at each other.
At this early stage, CDEDI is demanding a clear and definitive explanation from the Acting Inspector General (IG) of Police and the Minister of Home land. It is our conviction that after all is said and done someone has to be held responsible and accountable.
The unfortunate events that are taking place in the country of late point to a lawlessness nation, and this poses a threat to both peace and security of the citizens! How can citizens feel secure when those that are supposed to protect them resort to fighting each other?
CDEDI is challenging Mutharika to rise to the occasion and provide strategic leadership as opposed to the current free for all kind of situation.
Should the state president remain silent on this matter, just as it has become his tradition lately based on a number of incidences that have happened in the past, then we can safely conclude that this lawlessness in the country is as a result of the president’s failure to hold the reign of power very firmly, thereby making Malawi a free for all kind of nation.
Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI is convinced that the striking prison junior staff have genuine concerns that a listening and caring leader in the name of President Mutharika would not wait up until gunshots in order for him to listen to their cries.
CDEDI is a non partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established with a goal to have 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.
ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR