The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has started working on the files on July 20, 2011 demonstrations.

This follows the completion of investigations on the matter by the Malawi Police Service. National police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo confirmed that the police finished investigating the matter.

In an interview yesterday DPP Bruno Kalemba said his office is now working on the files.

“I can confirm that the files started coming to our office. We are currently scrutinising them. There are three possibilities: If they are complete, we will start prosecution immediately. If there are gaps, we will send them back to police to fill those gaps. But if there is no evidence, we will close the cases,” Kalemba said.

Last month, both the office of the DPP and the police said complexity of events of July 20, 2011 was delaying the process of arresting of suspects named in the report.

Council for Non-governmental Organisations (Congoma) board chairperson Voice Mhone expressed disappointment at the slow pace, at which the government was responding to the findings of the report.

Late President Bingu wa Mutharika instituted the inquiry in 2011 but the report was submitted to president Joyce Banda in June last year by vice chairperson of the commission Timothy Khoviwa.

The commission, which was led by late Bishop Emeritus Felix Mkhori, also had such members as lawyer James Naphambo, former police Officer Titus Thyolamwendo, Levi Mihowa and Chris Gianakis.

In total, 20 people died in Karonga, Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre during the demonstrations.

Among others, the report faulted the Malawi Police Service for using excessive force and called for the investigation of some police officers who acted illegally.

The report also faulted an injunction Chiza Mbekeani obtained to stop people from going to the streets.

The media is also blamed for events of July 20 for carrying live coverage of the looting, arson and the consequent deaths and injuries as they unfolded, which in the opinion of the Commission incited violence in other parts of the country.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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