Recent transfers and holidays of top police officers have heightened speculation that the Malawi Police Service is cracking down on cops suspected to have been involved in the killing of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa and of 20 people during the July 20, 2011 protests.
However, police Deputy spokesperson Kelvin Maigwa has played down the fears, saying transfers are normal in the police. He said all the transferred cops still maintain their ranks.
Police have transferred the Criminal Investigations Department chief Bob Mtekama to be officer in charge for Phalombe Police Station whilst the fate of Deputy Inspector General of Police Finley Binali is still unknown.
Willie Mwaluka, the former spokesperson of the police, is said to be on leave.
There have also been several transfers of other police officers, both senior and junior, heightening speculation that the police is now ready to deal with those officers directly linked to the Chasowa saga and the July 20 killings.
In an interview on Thursday, Maigwa said: “These transfers are normal. No one has been demoted, there is nothing strange with these transfers. In the Malawi Police Service, these are normal transfers.”
Police recently arrested police officer Stanford Horea along side Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians Noel Masangwi and Lewis Ngalande and other party cadets as suspects in the murder of Chasowa.
Others are a Amos, Mike Chitenje, Dofu Georfrey Botoman, Mike Chitenje, Sam Chulu, Stoni John, Frank Julius, Harry Makina, Chikondi Mwamvera, Isaac Osman, Elias Phiri, Petros Phiri and sub/inspector Yuda.
The Chasowa Inquiry report recommends that the police should not be used for political agenda, saying the police is the independent organ of the executive and therefore in the exercise of duty towards the protection of the rights of the public they must conduct themselves with indepedence and impartiality.
The report also says while the police are entitled for post-mortem examination in cases of unnatural death, the police should desist from influencing the opinion of medical experts by offering unsolicited information in order to establish the cause of the death.
The report also recommends that that police should continue and complete investigations on Chasowa’s death as a case of homicide, saying in view of the time that has lapsed since Chasowa’s death, the investigations must be done with speed and completed as soon as possible.