The Government is backing acts of police brutality that were seen during a scuffle between the law enforcers and members of the Association of Persons with Albinism-APAM.
On Saturday members of APAM clashed with the law enforcers at Malawi Institute of Management where they intended to block the road in an effort to seek an audience with President Mutharika, who was in transit from the Northern Region.
Videos of the incident have gone viral on social media, where police officer are seen beating the unarmed APAMA members, while other persons with Albinism are seen being dragged into police vehicles in handcuffs.
In a statement from the Government, the Minister of Information who is also Government Spokesperson Henry Mussa, the state stresses they will not condone lawlessness.
“Government wishes to inform the public that it will not condone lawlessness in whichever form it comes, even if it is hidden in the name of exercising right,” says Mussa.
Mussa is describing the Saturday incident as an irresponsible manner of exercising rights.
“Let the public, including people living with albinism be informed that Government will not associate with exercising of rights in a manner that violates the rights of other people, inconveniences them, undermines their dignity and endangers their security and property,” Mussa adds.
However, the Government statement on the Saturday incident has not gone down well with opposition United Transformation Movement –UTM.The party has through its Publicity Secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga countered the statement.
“The UTM has noted with dismay the statement from government, through the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, justifying acts of brutality by officers of the Malawi Police Services on persons with albinism who have been on vigils in Lilongwe to demand attention from government,” reads part of the statement.
According to the UTM the ruling DPP administration has no moral ground to accuse anyone of lawlessness. The UTM cites the continued violation of traffic laws by followers and supporters of the DPP who are using illegal registration number plates on their vehicles as an example of lawlessnes.
“Malawi is awash with vehicles whose registration numbers are ANA ADADI, ANA ACHEPA, APM 2019 BOMA and other similarly misguided chants as a way of evading the law”.
The statement goes on to add that, “It is ridiculously ironic that government can shamelessly condemn lawlessness and charge that no one is above the law when it is presiding over the most arrogant display of lawlessness in this country.”
The UTM further claim that police are failing to act on such vehicle owners, fearing repercussions associated with being found to take to book any law violators with the ruling administration tag on them.
On the other hand government is stressing that the police will have to deal with anyone found to be lawless as they found the APAM members.
“No one is above the law in this country and the police will continue to fight lawlessness, ensure lawfulness and order, and secure life and property,” Mussa emphasizes.
In reaction to the APAM /Police clash and the government statement social and political commentator Hamphrey Mvula is describing the two as unfortunate.
He goes on to add that the incident is a missed opportunity by Mutharika as he would have used it as a platform to lend the APAM team an ear, which s what they have been looking for.
The police should have cautioned the president that there are people seeking his attention, hence the need for him to stop.
“In my view there was no problem in the president simply stopping and say look here you are my sons and daughters am give u a hearing, it wouldn’t have cost the president time, it wouldn’t have cost him anything, it wouldn’t have destructed him from doing anything. Instead he would have won kudos from everyone that the president cares,” Mvula says.
Similar views are shared by the UTM, who feel the ugly brutal acts were avoidable had the President given APAM the much needed attention.
“The situation in Lilongwe could have been avoided had government been responsible enough to act decisively on the concerns from people with albinism. These are human beings with real issues,” suggests the UTM.
Meanwhile, the UTM has called on the Government to provide justice for all and not promote selective justice for selfish political reasons.