House awaits interpretation on IG vacancy
Parliament has again deferred a motion on the confirmation of Duncan Mwapasa awaiting a legal interpretation regarding the vacancy of the office of the Inspector General of Malawi Police Service.
The development came after opposition raised concerns on why they were voting when there is no vacancy at Police as Rodney Jose the previous holder only proceeded on leave pending retirement.
According to the opposition, this means the position already has an occupant hence no need to proceed with Mwapasa’s confirmation.
Opposition legislators were at it again as they ganged up to block the confirmation, questioning the procedure used.
Interim leader of the opposition Lobin Lowe, stated that they were supposed to have a report from the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) first before they could hear from party spokespersons.
Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara assured the house that the committee will be given that chance.
Malawi Congress Party Representative on Security Matters Eisenhower Mkaka found the IG grossly wanting noting that while serving as Head of Operations, he failed to protect people with albinism and that a commission of enquiry linked him to the death of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa.
He cited deaths of former Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)’s Issa Njauju during his charge with little done on investigations as some of the things which would be a disservice to the nation if confirmed.
Mkaka noted that the IG designate only holds a Diploma in Engineering while they are other candidates in the Police with better qualifications fit for the position.
United Democratic Front (UDF) Spokesperson Lillian Patel said the decision on the IG must be made in the best interests of the nation and cautioned against bringing in issues of tribalism and regionalism.
She reminded the house that in 1994 UDF initiated police reforms to work in line with democratic tenets.
Patel acknowledged the existence of good officers in the system that are ready to reform while at the same time noted of bad elements who are putting spanners in the wheel.
Peoples Party Spokesperson John Chikalimba indicated that Mwapasa should represent the nation not certain individuals and called on members to forget what was discussed during their party caucuses but use their conscience when voting.
Deputy PAC Chairperson Rachel Zulu described the appointment as important and thus the opportunity should be treated seriously as the police is crucial in restoring peace and order and providing a conducive environment for economic activities.
With a career spanning 23 years, the IG desginate was Officer in Charge for Lilongwe, Rumphi and Lilongwe served as Presidential Guard Commander and rose to become Deputy Inspector General for Administration.
She also said the committee noted that he rose through the ranks rather quickly.
According to her, during his interaction with the committee he provided frank explanations and showed adequate knowledge for the job.
When queried on the conclusion of Njauju, Lule Buleya cases, he failed to come clear on their completion.
He also conceded before the Appointments Committee that the Police are one of the most corrupt institutions but failed to outline steps on how he intends to deal with the vice.
Zulu viewed the opportunity as a make or break one as the candidate could either serve the public interest of drown the security organ further.
She noted that he had the requisite experience but his tenacity to navigate through politics and serving the public regardless of tribes, regions and status remained more paramount.
Lowe then reminded Gotani-Hara on the need to seek legal advice considering that the other IG was just on leave; a notion that was supported by Dowa East MP, Richard Chimwendo Banda.
This further divided the National Assembly and noting the different opinions on the floor and using standing order 37 on difference of opinion, she promised to come up with a ruling following consultations from the Attorney General on Tuesday afternoon.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila schooled the opposition that if they don’t want Mwapasa, the solution lied in not voting for him than using unconventional ways.