Inspector General (IG) of Police Lot Dzonzi has confessed that despite every effort being employed to root out violent and daring crimes, the growth of organised criminality is sucking the strength of the Malawi Police Service (MPS), particularly in urban areas.
Speaking in an interview with The Nation yesterday, Dzonzi said this was the reason MPS last weekend engaged other key security organs in an inter-agency operation in the country’s major cities, towns and other strategic points.
The operation, which started on Friday and ended Saturday night, was jointly conducted by MPS, Immigration Department, Prisons Department and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF).
During the two-day operation, 2119 suspects were arrested and charged with various offences. Two guns were also confiscated in the process.
Dzonzi vowed that the police would continue engaging other key security agents whenever necessary until their mission is accomplished.
“It is not always that we will engage them [other security organs], but whenever we feel it is necessary we will do because our roles are both supplementary and complementary to each other. So, we will do it on the need basis, but not as a matter of routine,” he said.
Dzonzi said the police service was trying its best to make Malawi a safe haven, but the urban areas were a challenging environment.
Said the top officer: “There are other areas where we have a challenging environment. We need to jack up, particularly in urban areas because of the growth of gangs of organised criminality.”
Asked what such a confession coming from the IG means, Blantyre-based former senior police officer, now a security consultant, Alex Chisiano, defended the police chief for his sincerity.
Said Chisiano: “By saying that the police service is facing serious challenges, the Inspector General does not imply that they have failed. What he was probably trying to do was tell Malawians the reality of the situation.”
He added that Dzonzi was “only trying to convey to the people that police work was not an easy job.”
In recent weeks, the country has witnessed a significant rise in crime particularly in urban areas with robbers attacking people in various places both during daytime and night thereby creating fear and panic among the residents.
Just last week, burglars broke into and attempted to steal at Mudi House—the Vice-President’s official residence in Blantyre—raising questions of how safe citizens are if the home of the second most powerful man on the land—Saulos Chilima—can be violated so easily.
And two weeks ago, Standard Bank Mzuzu Branch was also robbed of over K500 million by gun slingers.
The bank job prompted the President to declare war on crime and announced that as a starting point, government had bought 50 vehicles to equip the police to effectively respond to the crime concerns.