President Lazarus Chakwera has described the conduct by Malawi Police Deputy Inspector General for Administration, Happy Mkandawire and Deputy Inspector General for Operations, Casper Chalera who disregarded his order to release Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General, Martha Chizuma after her arrest, as insubordination.
Chizuma was arrested following a complaint that was lodged by former Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Steven Kayuni who alleged that he was injured by allegations made by Chizuma in a leaked audio clip in January, 2022.
He has since recommended the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Merlyne Yolamu to refer the conduct of her two deputies to the Malawi Police Service Commission, which has the legal mandate to determine the extent of their insubordination and the appropriate consequences to be meted out.
The Commission of Inquiry report stated that when Mkandawire, who was Acting Inspector General at the time, was informed by the Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo of Chakwera’s directive to release Chizuma unconditionally, he regarded it as unlawful.
“I assume that he considered it unlawful because according to section 78of the Constitution of Malawi, the President is Commander-in-Chief of the Malawi Defence Force, notthe Malawi Police Service, and so it is true that the President has no power to order the arrest or release of anyone by the Police, which is independet
“However, what the Acting Inspector General should have remembered is that while the Malawi Police Service is independent, it is not autonomous.
“No one is. In fact, Section 88 of the Constitution says the President is ultimately responsible for the observance of the Constitution by all agencies of the State in the Executive branch, which includes the Police, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Malawi Electoral Commission, the Malawi Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, and many others.
“Additionally, Section 89 empowers me as President to “exercise all other powers reasonably necessary and incidental” to this responsibility. So my directive for Ms. Chizuma to be released was not an act of interference into the lawful functions of the Police, but an intervention to prevent the unlawful use of Police powers,” he said in his Nation Address on Wednesday
In view of this, Chakwera said he consider the failure to comply with that directive an act of insubordination.
Chizuma was formally charged with making use of speech capable of prejudicing a person against a party to judicial proceedings which is contrary to section 113 (1) (d) of the Penal Code, before being released on Police Bail.