LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – President Dr Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday noted concerns by rights bodies condemning police officers who are physically harassing Malawians found not wearing face masks.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) issued a statement reminding the police that Malawi is not a police state, but a democratic country with laws that have to be respected.
Governance expert Mr Undule Mwakasungula and the Malawi Human Rights Commission have also condemned the police for their high-handedness as they enforce adherence to the newly gazetted covid-19 restrictions.
In his speech on Sunday, President Chakwera, who revealed that the country has in the past seven days conducted a total of 17 963 coronavirus tests—which is an average of 2 566 tests per day and represent a 50 percent increase on the average number of daily tests the week before— also condemned reports of alleged police brutality during enforcement of Covid-19 measures.
Said Chakwera: “I have directed the Minister of Homeland Security to work with the Inspector General in ensuring that police officers are properly trained in the enforcement of these rules.”
The Malawi leader clarified that his directive in ensuring public compliance to the gazetted Coronavirus measures does not include brutality or beatings.
“Citizens found to be in violation of public safety laws must be subjected to due process not police brutality or beatings, “he said, adding: “Malawi is not a police State, for what we have in this country is a police service, not a police force.
President Chakwera also persuaded Malawians the importance of listening to health professionals to beat a pandemic that has killed 508 Malawians so far.