The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says President Peter Mutharika should fire Inspector General of Police following the police’s admission that it cannot provide adequate security during demonstrations.
The coalition said this in a letter dated 29th July addressed to the Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose and signed by among other HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence.
HRDC was responding to a letter the IG wrote to the coalition demanding it to stop organising demonstrations against Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah saying the police were overstretched by the demonstrations.
In its letter, the HRDC said the Mutharika administration should improve the capacity of the police or replace Jose as the Inspector General.
“While we appreciate the capacity challenges your office is facing in providing security to persons and property during demonstrations, we strongly feel that your letter has been addressed to the wrong entity. Your letter should have been addressed to your appointing authority, President Peter Mutharika, who would have either found the most appropriate ways to strengthen your capacity in fulfilling your mandate or replace you with a more capable person,” the coalition said.
It also accused the police boss of advancing the interests of the Democratic Progressive Party government by trying to stop Malawians from exercising their rights.
The grouping asked the police to stop blaming HRDC for the violence that has marred previous post-election demonstrations and to carry out its duty by bringing perpetrators to book.
“HRDC has always condemned any acts of violence and criminal conduct that have accompanied its peaceful and unarmed demonstrations. Just like we have always done before every demonstration, we call upon law enforcers to bring the perpetrators to book. It is the responsibility of the Malawi Police to prevent, detect, investigate and follow up on all criminal related cases including those occurring during and after demonstrations.
“HRDC categorically disassociates itself from these barbaric acts as they are neither part of its agenda nor accepted in a democratic dispensation,” reads part of the letter.
The coalition then challenged that it will not be moved by “unconstitutional rhetoric” coming from Jose IG and will continue organising post-election demonstrations even if they were to be conducted every day.