Almost 14 Police officers working at State house have been transferred to other sectors for reportedly supporting opposition political parties for the May 21, 2019 Tripartite Elections which saw President Peter Mutharika re-elected for second term.

Mutharika took an oath of Presidency for his second five-year term at Kamuzu Stadium in commercial capital Blantyre on Tuesday.

Sources who happen to be some of the affected police officers in Blantyre, but opted for anonymity, confirmed being transferred from Sanjika Palace to unspecified posts.

The victims said they received phone calls at around 7pm on Monday, telling them never to report for duties the following day.

“It was surprising but, because it was an instruction from our seniors, we had to adhere to it. However, an hour or so later, we received another phone call instructing us to report for normal duties that very night. That was around 8pm. There were at least 13 of us there. Our identification cards and hats were withdrawn and we were told never to report for duties the following day,” the source said.

Malawi national Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera described the transfers as usual.

“Every police officer is aware that he or she can be transferred at any time to any place; it is normal in Malawi Police Service,” Kadadzera said.

Kadadzera, however, quashed assertions that the transfers were politically-motivated, saying this is a democratic country where people talk and connect developments such as transfers to politics.

Responding to the development, Human Rights Defenders Coalition Vice-Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said the transfers were clear political witch-hunting.

“We have always fought against this; let Malawians be employed on the aspect that they are citizens of this country but not that they are supporting a ruling party. We should not use tribalism, ethnicity or regionalism to employ people in the civil service. This is too bad for our democracy,” he said.

In the same development, in January 2019, six police officers were transferred from Kanengo Police Station in Lilongwe to remote police formations in the Northern Region for allegedly receiving UTM T-shirts.

Some 42 police officers from former vice president Saulos Chilima’s office and Mudi Residence in Blantyre were also moved and transferred to PMS ‘B’ Division.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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