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Formation of complaints commission awaits appointment of Commissioner

Formation of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) awaits the appointment of a Commissioner.

The Public Appointments Committee (PAC) has set up a special panel of experts to facilitate the recruitment of the Commissioner.

It is anticipated that the Commission will start operations in the next two months.

The formation of the IPCC comes about ten years after the Malawi Police Act of 2009 proposed its establishment.

Despite this being clearly indicated, it is only recently that the government called for applications for the post of a Commissioner to head the department.

With numerous cases of alleged police brutality going cold, calls are now louder for the men in uniform to be investigated by an independent entity.

Speaking to Capital FM, PAC Chairperson Collins Kajawa explained that the Commission’s role will be to receive and investigate complaints against the police.

Collins Kajawa

It will also investigate any death or injury as a result of police action as well as all deaths and injuries which occur in police custody.

“In situations where people have issues on the performance of Malawi Police Service officers, they will be entitled to file a complaint to this commissioner and he or she will act according to the mandate given to that office,” Kajawa said.

For Maggie Kathewera Banda, Executive Director of the Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WORLEC), this is a welcome development and a step in the right direction towards justice being served.

WORLEC has been in the forefront pushing for speedy investigations into the Msundwe rape case.

This is the case in which it is alleged that the men in uniform sexually assaulted 17 women and girls when they were deployed to restore peace in that area.

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The incident occurred in October last year.

“That is what we have been fighting for all this time as human rights activists and this is a welcome development becasuse there are so many cases involving the police,” Kathewera Banda said.

She added that they are looking forward for cases such as that of the Msundwe rape to be finalized and the wrongdoers being brought to book.

And Blantyre based social commentator Humphreys Mvula, says the establishment is good as the police has been compromised in the past couple of years.

He hopes that the Commission will remain independent and fight for the better good.

“I wish this commission was instituted years ago, because the police have never done their jobs fairly by serving Malawians as they should be.

The police have been too compromised, we have cases such as that of Robert Chasowa and even that of Buleya Lule, the police were accused and the law is yet to take its course because even now it is too late,” Mvula added.

On the reasons why it has taken about a decade for the IPCC to be established Kajawa admitted that they too could not find the answers as to why it had taken many years for the country to have such a commission.

After almost eleven years, Malawians will in the next two months finally be able to have their concerns heard and investigated on the injustices suffered at the hands of the police.


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