Yolamu becomes Malawi’s 1st female Inspector General of Police
In a rare fashion, members of Parliament from both the government and opposition on Friday unanimously approved Merlyn Nachulu Yolamu as the new Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service.
A holder of a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management obtained from the University of London in 2013 and a Bachelor of Arts Degree obtained from the University of Malawi Chancellor College in 2010, she breaks the record as Malawi’s first female Inspector General of Police.
She boasts of 37 years’ experience having started off at the age of 22 years at the lowest position of constable and rose through the ranks and file of the Police service.
In its assessment, the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) said her career progression is impressive coupled with a service record which shows she possesses the necessary experience to perform the duties of the office of Inspector General.
The Committee also had opportunity to among others review her personal file, Curriculum Vitae, original certificates and a motivational statement, legal framework governing the appointment of the IG and invited Yolamu to a hearing to ascertain her knowledge and aptitude as well as assess her ability to serve.
Committee Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo indicated that from the documentation and the interface with her, it was clear she had no record of indiscipline or questionable service conduct.
PAC also considered reports that the IG was allegedly involved in the infamous illegal and irregular procurement of food rations worth $7,875,000 which led to the dismissal of her predecessor Dr. George Kainja.
It then requested the Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau to furnish it with information on whether the appointee was involved in the said corruption case or not and the extent of her involvement which was submitted on Monday, 1st August, 2022.
Subsequently, a Sub Committee of PAC held a meeting with Martha Chizuma and her officials at Parliament on 2nd August, and a report from the Bureau cleared her of any wrong doing relating to the case.
According to Chitsulo, the ACB Director’s report concluded: “We have checked our records and would like to confirm that Ms. Merlyn Nachulu Yolamu is not a suspect in the food rations packs case. Further, we hereby want to confirm that we have checked our records and the Anti-Corruption Bureau is currently not investigating Ms. Merlyn Yolamu for any corrupt practice”.
PAC stressed that her tenacity to navigate through partisan and sectarian interests in managing an independent and professional Police Service to effectively serve as an independent organ of the Executive and protection of public safety and the rights of persons in Malawi is crucial.
She informed the house that from the responses during the hearing, Yolamu demonstrated passion and zeal to transform the Police Service into a professional service and provided practical and workable solutions to the challenges.
“The Committee is confident that the appointee has what it takes and as such found her competent to perform the duties of the office of the Inspector General of police. The Committee, therefore, recommends Ms. Merlyn Nachulu Yolamu to the Assembly for confirmation as Inspector General of Police”.
Democratic Progressive party (DPP) Spokesperson Mark Botomani reminded members it was the first to front a female officer as IG to be considered by Parliament in the late Mary Nangwale but was blocked by the opposition Malawi Congress Party then.
Botomani observed this is a senior position requiring someone who’s not biased, mature, sober and an uncompromising person to bring true meaning to the service.
He stated that the Police Chief should be willing to foster and promote public accountability and integrity in the service advising her to ensure effective management of demonstrations as enshrined in the Republic Constitution.
The former governing party however explicitly reiterated its concerns over arbitrary arrests.
“We have complained formally and informally and it is my hope that the nominee soon to become the IG will rise above politics in order for her to discharge her duties impartially. It is also from us to advise the nominee that right now the police service is characterized by corruption; this is in public domain and our hope is that our IG will bring sanity in the service with regard to corruption”
United Democratic Front Spokesperson Lilian Patel described Yolamu’s Curriculum Vitae as very impressive with an impeccable track record.
She urged her to ensure that reports of sexual harassment in the service are addressed.