Police in Malawi usually use teargas to control crowds

THE MALAWI Police Service, MPS is again coming under growing criticism for its heavy handedness in restoring law and order in public places.

Police officers have in the past two-days been at the centre of controversy for overreacting and using extreme force against unarmed and peaceful civilians.

The recent event happened today in the city of Mzuzu where the police had running battles with the public.

Officers of the MPS were attempting to remove vendors from the streets and undesignated sites where they were conducting their trade against regulations of the city council.

In reaction, the police used teargas to disperse the incensed vendors.

They also beat two journalists working with the privately owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station, ZBS.

Musase Cheyo and Towera Mkandawire received medical treatment at Mzuzu Health Centre following injuries they sustained from the beating.

This incident came after police on Thursday teargassed members of the public in Blantyre that were receiving campaign materials from the vice president of the opposition MCP, Sidik Mia.

In both instances the police claim that they were simply carrying out their constitutional mandate of restoring law and order.

These are among a myriad of cases of police brutality in Malawi.

In 2009, the Malawian section of the official US rights said while senior officials publicly condemned prisoner mistreatment, their subordinates continued to employ unacceptable techniques

It also attached its survey’s credibility by pointing out that the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) condemned police for human rights violations several times throughout the year.

The report noted that the police force was inefficient and poorly trained due to inadequate funding.  It observed that corruption was widespread, and impunity was a problem.



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