Leader of Alliance for Democracy AFORD party in parliament Yeremiah Chihana has proposed a change in the current Police Act and the way the inspector general of police and his deputy are appointed as part of the solution to restoring police lost trust by the people.
Chihana who has a legal back ground told Zodiak that the current police act particularly section 105 is not in tandem with the current democratic dispensation, saying most African countries have already reworked their police acts.
"The leadership of AFORD believes that we need to change the Police Act, especially section 105 of the act which is abused by the law enforcers by preventing people from conducting demonstrations,” he said.
Chihana suggests the new act should be modeled in a way to meet the new roles, functions and powers as provided by the democratic Malawi Constitution with strategic operational independence under the supervision of the minister.
The sole AFORD legislator has since proposed that the presidency should no longer dictate the appointment of the police Inspector general and deputy inspector general, rather the public should take the lead in the appointments and vetting of the two top police bosses.
He feels this will in a way help bring back the lost trust between police and Malawians.
But adding his thoughts to the proposal, law expert Justin Dzonzi while agreeing that the acts needs review says there’s need to trade carefully in changing the law so as not to bring in legislation that will bring unrestricted lawlessness.
Dzonzi said for instance the idea to review section 105 of the police act should be handled with caution as giving people all the freedom to demonstrate in a way in a way negates the dictates of tolerance and coexistence in a democratic society.
On the appointment of the inspector general and his deputy, Dzonzi feels Malawians are already participating in the process through their members of parliament.
"After the president appoints the inspector general and his deputy, the names are subject to approval or denial by parliament. Parliamentarians represent their people and in that case Malawians participate in the appointment or denial of the appointed names," he said.
he futher cited the case of Mary Nangwale whose name was denied by parliamentarians after being appointed by former head of state late Bingu Wa Mutharika.
The Malawi police act was last reviewed in January 2010