Malawi Law Society gears up to sue police over brutality
LILONGWE — Officials from the Malawi Law Society (MLS) have urged leadership within the Chancellor College Students’ Union to submit names of police who brutalised students during a recent protest.
According to Nyasa Times, the call follows a clip released online showing unarmed girls being slapped and harassed by police officers as scholars took to the streets to air their grievances over a recently announced hike in fees.
“Chancellor College Students Union has received an urgent call from the Malawi Law Society to submit names of all students who suffered any form of act of police brutality during the recent events on campus,” said the union’s president, Ayuba Sylvester James.
Since the emergence of the video, which has since gone viral over the internet, calls have been growing urging Malawian police to conduct disciplinary investigations into the matter and bring the perpetrators of violence to book.
“When I first saw the video, I couldn’t watch it to the end. I just couldn’t stomach it. I imagined the fear the unarmed girls had at the site of the monsters camouflaged as police officers. The overzealous police officers were supposed to protect the students and not to harm them,” wrote Selina Kainja, a columnist for local newspaper, The Weekender.
“Our police officers need to go back to class and learn better ways of crowd or riot control. It has shown that in many cases, when there are demos, police use violence or intimidation to scare people away,” Nyasa Times quoted Kainja as saying.
Members of the former ruling People’s Party (PP) have also lashed out at the development, writing to the Inspector General of Police asking for the police officer featured in the viral clip to be fired with immediate effect.
According to a Malawi24 report, PP spokesperson Ken Msonda, made the call, adding that officers involved in the brutality of innocent students must be disciplined.
“We have a video clip which is exposing some officer slapping female students at the institution, which is not a good development considering the academic freedom, and we have sent that video to the inspector general of the police. We want those officers fired,” said Msonda.