999 Rapid Response

The number of casualties in the three regions of the country has put a question mark to the quality of police leadership or police brutality in the respective region. From Zodiac Radio reports broadcast at lunch on 21st July, the highest numbers of deaths were recorded in the Northern Region with 9 dead and 45 injured. Central region followed and the Southern Region with the least number of casualties. These are revealing numbers and deserve immediate scrutiny to make sense.
Should we say that people from the North are inherently provocative? Not at all. Malawians are the same. The police in Malawi are trained from one training school in Limbe. In fact most of the police went through the reform program funded by the British Government. This was what actually changed the Malawi Police from a Force to a Service. Is it probable that most of the police officers working in the North are either new officers or sycophants? It is imperative to understand why the police officers in the North used live bullets on unarmed civilians.

Let us assume there were newly appointed officers. From the little that is known, Bingu has a secret policy of filling the Police and the Civil Service with officers from his ethnic group based on the obnoxious quota system. In readiness of the forthcoming General Elections in 2014 and knowing that his main opponents are from the North, it is possible that most of the police officers deployed there are from the Lomwe belt. This conclusion could be wrong but it is worth investigating now.

The second perspective of sycophant officers can be based on ethnic discrimination so that troublesome officers are sent to the North as a punitive measure. This is because promotions in the civil service go to those near the Head Office. The farther one is from the eyes of senior officers the less the chance for one to be promoted fast. This is a standard procedure for promotions in the civil service.

These two perspectives have been selected in an effort to understand why there were the highest casualties in the North. It is a fact that some demonstrators lost tempers after being told not to demonstrate when the same police had already approved the march the previous night. It was like double standards nevertheless, the same situation was true with demonstrators in the Southern and Central Regions. It is a well known fact that fish starts rotting from its head. The first step in the investigations is to find out the districts of origins of senior police officers working in the North Region.

The organizers of the demonstrations in the North deserve commendation for organizing joint funeral ceremonies.. Those who have died will be heroes in the nearest future. The 20th July will be the second Martyrs Day in Malawi.. Long Live Democracy.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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