News / Africa

Malawians Question Reversal of Shoot-to-Kill Policy

Lameck Masina
BLANTYRE — Malawians have been experiencing an increase in armed robberies since President Joyce Banda’s new administration reversed the shoot-to-kill policy for police. Banda and human rights groups said the policy violated the rights of suspects and the legal premise of innocent until proven guilty.

The President of Malawi Joyce Banda arrives at Marlborough House in London, England, June 6, 2012.The President of Malawi Joyce Banda arrives at Marlborough House in London, England, June 6, 2012.
x
The President of Malawi Joyce Banda arrives at Marlborough House in London, England, June 6, 2012.
The President of Malawi Joyce Banda arrives at Marlborough House in London, England, June 6, 2012.
A few weeks ago President Joyce Banda’s new government revoked the policy that allowed police to shoot-to-kill suspects caught in the commission of a crime.

Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Uladi Mussa said the shoot-to kill policy was unconstitutional. “Our constitution says nobody can be killed unless sentenced by the court in this country. Not that the police should kill somebody in the process of arresting an individual," Mussa said.

Since the change in policy, Blantyre and many parts of the country have been experiencing a spate of armed robberies.

Unidentified armed criminals stole undisclosed millions of dollars in cash from the Malawi Savings Bank in the southern district of Thyolo, Monday morning. This followed another incident in which robbers attacked an Indian businessman in the Limbe area.

Limbe police spokesperson Chifundo Chibwezo says these crimes occurred after a team of armed thugs broke into a number of homes in Machinjiri Township in Blantyre where they took electronics and cash.

Mussa acknowledged a deterioration in security, but assured Malawians that the government will not allow the lawlessness to continue.

“Malawi is not a farm. We will have to abide by the laws we have in this country," Mussa said. "So people should not be scared of anybody. Just report to police or even myself so that we completely crush the crimes committed by the individuals.”

The leader of the opposition Chipani cha Pfuko party, Davis Katsonga, said politicians need to stay out of police business. “These people [police] go through very intensive training. They don’t need a politician to tell them what they need to do," he said.

"I think it’s wrong to pretend that us politicians we know everything, because we don’t," Katsonga added. "Let’s allow the police to do the job as they were trained professionally and make sure that the police are indeed given the tools which they need in fighting crime in this country,”

Some police officers are reported to be demoralized by the change in policy and fear for their safety in responding to crimes. But new Police Inspector General Loti Dzonzi described such fears as baseless.

“Shooting-to-kill does not safeguard the life of the police officer," said Dzonzi. "What police officers should be advocating for is that government should provide them with bulletproof vests and not to allow them to shoot to kill before somebody has been given the opportunity to prove their innocence”.

Political scientist at the Malawi Catholic University, Vincent Kondowe, applauded ending the shoot-to-kill policy but said there must be a balance between issues of security and human rights.

“Coming from the background where the police have abused those powers, probably the president was right [for reversing the policy] but there are certain things which the president was not supposed to say publicly," Kondowe said. "For example administrative [and] procedural issues are not supposed to be said publicly because it creates alarm like the way the police have reacted here.”

The shoot-to-kill policy was first enacted last year under a directive from late president Bingu wa Mutharika during the July 20 anti-government demonstrations. Police shot and killed at least 18 people - sparking international condemnation and cuts in foreign assistance.

Since taking office in April, President Banda has been moving quickly on changing directions to win back much needed foreign aid.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Peter Nkosi from: Malawi
July 06, 2012 12:22 AM
Why on earth did VOA have to quote Davis Katsonga? His party is the latest of about 40 parties, has no MPs and indeed is extremely minor. In addition, Katsonga is an ex-convict, having been jailed in the UK for sexual blackmail. Later, when he managed to become a government minister in Malawi, he had to be kept hidden away when a high-powered delegation from the UK visited the country.

Katsonga deserves no space in an article about Malawi which is published for an international readership.


by: Jak Daniels
July 05, 2012 6:17 PM
Those are the aftermaths of following western untried ideologies. It is not long before we will hear those same Capricorns knocking on Joice Banda's door to advise her that they are sending in experts to assist impoverished Malawians on how to do policing duties. Africans require heavy-handedness modus operandi in order to deal and curb bad practices, yes DISO KWA DISO. Manja lende ngati a Joice tonse tiona zosaona. Without being forceful these acts will linger its ugly head for a long time, and mind you 2014 is far away for the country to have a proper Head of State who will be capable of running the country intelligently. Joice Banda is an unfortunate thing that has happened to Malawians; she is in a sense a massive mishap that has taken place in Malawi. We don't have any option other than live with this shit till next general elections coming in 2014. Mabvuto tili nawo, abale anzanga. One can see that these are the works of one and only ELSON BAKILI MULUZI (remote controlling proceedings), apparently he has now recovered after the cat disappeared.


by: innocent manyamba from: mzimba
July 05, 2012 2:17 PM
i would like to conquer with Mr katsonga, that the politicians must leave the professionals do their job ie police officers be left alone and all others too. the president must learn to listen and talk less on public issues as one day she may contradict herself." one mouth for a person to talk and two ears for a person to listen good.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid