Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has faulted Malawi Police Service (MPS) for the violence which culminated in a fight between Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) mobilised protesters and suspected Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) youth cadets in Blantyre on Wednesday.
In a statement co-signed by PAC board chairperson the Very Reverend Felix Chingota and spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole, PAC said it was shocked that the acts of violence happened in full view of police officers.
Reads the statement in part: “PAC strongly condemns the negligent attitude of the police in condoning acts of violence in their full view and let alone for throwing teargas around the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, a place that should have been spared in such circumstances.
“We cannot afford to lose even a single person created in God’s image as a result of negligent acts from the police.
“That the police have been seen behaving in such a manner for a couple of times in Malawi signals an imminent danger, especially in the current political situation where any act of State machinery that deviates from the path of peace may further fuel violence.”
PAC has since appealed to security agencies, including police, to exercise full restraint in light of the commitment to dialogue secured from President Peter Mutharika and other political leaders.
Further, PAC asked Malawians to treat the country’s streets as highways of peace and brotherhood and not avenues of violent acts.
“We must avoid to create opportunities for groups to fight among each other for where there is entrenched violence, even survivors of barbaric acts envy the dead for the situation becomes unbearable,” reads the PAC statement.
But in an interview with The Nation after the violence, Southern Region Police Headquarters spokesperson Ramsey Mushani said it was unfair to accuse the police of abandoning their role.
He said: “We did what we could under the circumstances as some of the injured were even picked by the police.”