CDEDI concerned over Police’s use of force on unarmed citizens

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has expressed concern over unwarranted use of force by police following an incident in Mulanje where officers demolished houses, beat up innocent villagers and threw teargas canisters at the villagers.

CDEDI has demanded Police Inspector General George Kainja to institute investigations into the incident.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said in a letter to Kainja that early this month, Police in Mulanje went on rampage in Mikundi Village, demolishing houses, beating up innocent villagers and throwing teargas canisters, allegedly in an effort to deal with vandalising and stealing of Seyama Tea Estate property.

Namiwa said that they are concerned with the continued unwarranted use of force on unarmed citizens, especially women, children and the elderly who are locals and estate owners in the tea growing districts of Thyolo and Mulanje.

“Surely, there is no justification of police using force on unarmed and helpless citizens; hence we at CDEDI regret the animosity that police in Mulanje have created between them and the estate owners on one side, and the villagers. We fear the unprofessional handling of the villagers over the said matter has potential to deny the area peace, which everyone desires.

“CDEDI has also noted the shameless attempt by Mulanje Police to let alleged looting and stealing of Seyama Tea Estate property overshadow the death of a suspect who was found stealing trees belonging to the estate. It is reported that the deceased breathed his last while receiving medical treatment at Mulanje District Hospital on September 4, 2021,” he said.

He then said that  they do not condone stealing, but they categorically condemn use of unwarranted force on any suspect as they believe police and courts are readily available to handle such matters.

He went to say that they believe that professional police have civil methods that they are supposed to use when searching for stolen property and dispersing controlling crowds, unlike the use of teargas and excessive force, which is turning out to be the norm.