Ten days before the scheduled January 17 demonstrations over rising cost of living, police have not come out to indicate whether it has capacity to control demonstrators.

A Commission of Inquiry into the July 20, 2011 mass demonstrations indicated that the police did not have the numbers to control the irate protestors, a thing that resulted in 20 people being shot dead.

This time around however, police through its National Spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo, have refused to say whether they have beefed up their numbers so that the demonstrations should not go awry as they did in 2011, arguing that they cannot disclose for security reasons.

“That one is an issue of national security and we cannot discuss it on air or in the media,” said Manjolo.

But Minister of Home Affairs Uladi Mussa hinted on Zodiak Broadcasting Station last week that the police still fall short of personnel to ensure a peaceful protest.

He said the 11, 000 policemen that the country has are not enough to guarantee security once the demonstrations turn violent.

“We have only 11, 000 police officers. So where does he [John Kapito] think we are going to get other officers to control 14 million Malawians?” Wondered Mussa.

Government through its spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu said last week it will not block the protests since it is a right enshrined in the constitution.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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