By Iommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has expressed fears that the conduct to secure political scores of Homeland Security Minister is putting the country’s hard won democracy under siege.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has expressed the concerns during press conference in Lilongwe where he warned Malawians that, if left unchecked, Homeland Security Minister, Ken Zikhale-Ng’oma will drag Malawi into a Police State.
The remarks by Namiwa are coming after observing that what started as an operation to enforce encampment policy for refugees and asylum-seekers has now culminated into lawlessness.
“In fact, the country’s hard-earned democracy is now under threat. To put it bluntly, Hon Zikhale-Ng’oma has taken the law into his hands and he is worryingly conducting himself as if he is the law himself. He is putting his wishes into laws,” says Namiwa.
In support of its fears against Zikhale-Ng’oma’s ‘laws’, Namiwa has given an example of incident in May this year whereby the police arrested two of their own namely; Eluby Malombe and Molly Makomela, both Criminal Investigations Officers at National Police Headquarters, Area 30 in Lilongwe, and were later charged by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), for allegedly receiving a bribe of MK20 million from a Rwandan businessman in order to release his container of agricultural produce which the police had confiscated.
“The two are currently on interdiction. And in June this year, the police arrested someone suspected to be Vincent Ngendahayo, one of the purported 44 Rwandan Army Generals who sought refuge in Malawi. Upon arrival in Kigali, Rwanda, following his deportation, it transpired that the Malawi Police had attached the name to a wrong person. In fact, Ngendahayo and his compatriot Mark Sibo were deported against a High Court order to release them from unlawful detention,” narrates Namiwa.
Adding that more recently, a team of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) cadres and plain-clothed police officers, again, from the National Police Headquarters were allegedly caught on camera stuffing money into a sack from a shop belonging to a naturalised Malawian, Emmanuel Joseph Nsekanabo.
“So far, only three MCP youths have been arrested and charged with robbery, and nothing is being heard about the police officers that were caught on the camera,” he said.
The CDEDI Executive Director has said the conduct of law enforcers is strange considering that Nsekanabo was naturalised in 2011 under certificate number IM/HA/93/2011 but is facing deportation.
Further putting democracy at siege is the discovery that Nsekanabo’s harassment and subsequent arrest was marred with verbal tirade from two MCP youth camps serving two heavy weights within the rank and file of the party.
According to Namiwa, strong allegations were made in the process and names were mentioned and that court documents and voice notes CDEDI has seen and heard respectively, one of these groups of MCP cadres allegedly belongs to the Director of Youth (DoY) Hon Richard Chiwemwendo Banda, who is also Minister of Local Government and National Unity while the other belongs to the party’s Director of Strategy, Zikhale-Ng’oma, the Homeland Security minister.
The CDEDI Chief has since penned Malawi Law Society to investigate gross violation of rule of law.
The CDEDI Executive Director has also challenged the MCP Secretary General, Eisenhower Mkaka to weigh in and slow down Zikhale-Ng’oma, as his conduct is reminding Malawians of the notorious Youth League and the Malawi Young Pioneers, thereby reflecting negatively on the rebranded MCP.
“We are also appealing to the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) to dutifully do the needful before the country plunges into a police State. It is, in fact, strange to note that religious institutions in Malawi have particularly remained quiet on the gross violations of rights of fellow Africans living with us in this country, notably refugees and asylum-seekers,” said Namiwa.
He has since asked the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Security to consider probing the Salima incident where the culprits were caught on camera, and at the same time summon Zikhale Ng’oma to justify his role in the Salima incident.
Namiwa has also appealed to all media houses in the country to accord Malawians the
right to access information by applying to the court for permission to broadcast live the case involving naturalists which is before the Lilongwe Registry, since it is of public interest.
The twist of the tale is coming in because after Immigration Department launched a man-hunt for him, the police arrested three MCP cadres who appeared before the Principal Magistrate Court in Lilongwe and in their caution statement, the suspects spilled the beans to the effect that it is now clear that Nsekanabo will have to appear before the same court as a State witness.
Zikhale Ng’oma is being accused of becoming extremely powerful from unleashing party cadres to torture unsuspecting citizens he is not in good books with as it is evident that all perpetrators, be it in Malawi Police Service or MCP, are assured of his protection and true to these findings, it has been discovered that all the identifiable police officers are still discharging their duties at Area 30.
“Such being the case, then what is the use of the law if one, in the name of Zikhale Ng’oma, can accrue such powers,” queries Namiwa.
But in an interview with this publication, Zikhale Ng’oma has timelessly refused the accusations saying all happening under his watch are lawful.