Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says there is glaring nepotism at Malawi Police Service (MPS) under the leadership of Inspector General of Police (IG) Dr. George Kainja.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, CDEDI executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said investigations show that there is no police officer from the Southern Region in the current Police High Command, which comprises three officers from the north, and 10—including the IG and his two deputies—from the Central Region.
Namiwa at the press briefing read a list of names of the senior police officers and their districts of origin.
He also read a a list of the Police High Command, from the previous administration, which is indicating that it comprised two officers from the North, five from the Centre, and five from the South.
During a recent meeting between CDEDI and the IG, Kainja claimed that the police top brass was designed in such a way that it took into consideration traditional, cultural as well as geographical aspects of the country; hence three out of the 13 officers in the Police High Command were from the South.
Kainja also blamed the Police Service Commission (PSC) for the imbalance in the current composition of the Police High Command, arguing that PSC was solely responsible for the hiring of the senior officers.
However, CDEDI has established that the IG sits on the PSC interviewing panel and makes recommendations to the commission which, according to CDEDI, means that the IG has veto powers for the hiring and firing of the senior officers in the Police High Command.
CDEDI has since demanded Kainja to address the imbalance within seven days.
“CDEDI is, therefore, reminding Dr. Kainja, that the Tonse Alliance administration was ushered into government with a promise to correct the wrongs of the immediate-past administration. Now, if we compare the current list of the Police High Command with the previous one, it shows that are moving in reverse.
“Needless to say, that the police is not a political institution to practise retribution. It is against this background that we also ask Dr Kainja to apologise and rectify the anomaly, as his commitment to ensure national unity,” said Namiwa.
Malawi Police Service through its spokesperson James Kadadzera has since released a statement rejecting claims that Kainja is excluding officers from Southern Region by leaving them out of the high command.
Kadadzera said promotions in the MPS are governed by the Constitution and the Police Act which require the PSC to follow principles of uniformity in promoting.
He added that the law also requires that certain standards must be attained by officers of each rank to qualify for promotion but region or district of origin are not criterion for promotion of officers.
“The presence or absence of police officers from any region at any level of management is thus not an indication of nepotism on the part of the Police Service Commission or the Inspector General.
“Making such an accusation can only be in bad faith and is a futile attempt to divide the Malawi Police Service on political, tribal or regional lines,” said Kadadzera.