But Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) acting national coordinator the Reverend MacDonald Sembereka has described Mukhito’s statement as unfortunate.
Mukhito, who was speaking during the New Year Police Officers Ball, also said while crime and accidents rates are going down, human trafficking is on the increase with Malawi becoming a conduit for Ethiopians and Somalians heading to South Africa.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Freedoms are restricted in the public interest on grounds of national security, to preserve public order, to maintain moral standards, to secure due recognition and respect for the rights and freedom of others,” said Mukhito, who observed that academics and civil society brandedÃ‚Â some provisions of the Police Act asÃ‚Â tools to suppress Malawians.
He added that freedom of speech and expression do not extend to sedition, slander, defamation and obscenity.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“One of the real problems in the human rights arena today is the failure of the activists to appreciate that rights are complementary and symbiotic to each other. The pursuit of one particular right without regard to others is self-defeating and destructive.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are no absolute rights to democratic protests or marches, rights of speech and expression and assembly. These rights are subject to limitations,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, adding that a blame game after July 20 2011 protests could lead to failure to develop appropriate systems for everyone to enjoy their rights.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My word to the donor community is that if indeed you want democracy and respect of human rights to be sustained in Africa, continue supporting police services with proper hardware to enable them to police demonstrations with a human face,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He said the police will continue working with organisers of peaceful demonstrations for the enjoyment of rights and maintenance of law and order.
Sembereka, however, said Mukhito should understand that framers of the Constitution added the right to demonstration to be enjoyed by all Malawians and that it was up to the police to maintain high professional standards than shooting people.