Army chief speaks on military presence during demos

The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has spoken out on the presence of the military during the ongoing demonstrations organized by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC). 

At a joint press conference at police Headquarters in Lilongwe, both the Inspector General (IG) of Police Rodney Jose and MDF Commander Vincent Nundwe said laws of the country allow the two security agencies to collaborate in bringing order in the country.

According to General Nundwe, apart from defending the sovereignty of the country and protecting the citizens against armed resurrections, the MDF is also mandated to provide expertise to civil authorities.

“The constitution allows us to provide expertise to civil authorities so part of it is how we deal with the police, because it allows us provide expertise, we have something for them in case we observe there is anything which has created some gaps in terms of maintenance of law and order,” he said.

General Nundwe`s remarks come amid widespread condemnation by both political and security experts who are arguing that presence of the MDF soldiers especially during demonstrations signifies a State of Emergency.

The experts have been quoted in the local media saying soldiers are not supposed to take the responsibility of the police who are by law mandated to restoring order in the country.

But according to General Nundwe, the police have been overpowered by massive numbers of the demonstrators who are turning into the streets during protests.

“Look at the demonstrators and the capacity which we have on the ground, massive numbers of people, because of those massive numbers and those sporadic maneuvers which are taking place, they might not be able to contain,” said General Nundwe.

Meanwhile, the HRDC has announced that it will hold what it has described as a one million march next week on Tuesday.

However, the police has pledged to provide security to both people and property during the demonstrations despite the police IG ordering HRDC to stop convening protests amid security concerns in the country.

Section 160 of the Constitutional mandates the MDF to operate at all times under the direction of those civil authorities in whom the Constitution vests such power.

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