Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Uladi Mussa says if Malawians believe the shoot-to-kill policy helped reduce crime in the country, they should move the Executive to propose a change of the law.
Mussa told a news conference he jointly addressed with Inspector General of Police Lot Dzonzi at Police Training School in Limbe on WednesdayÂ that in the absence of any change to the Constitution, it remains illegal for police to shoot suspects to death as ordered by the former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
The minister said he convened the news conference to dismiss assertions that the abolishment of the shoot-to-kill policy by the Joyce Banda administration meant that offenders can now walk scot-free.
â€œIt is not true that because we are saying no to â€˜shoot-to-killâ€™, then those who commit crimes will not face the law or the police officers should be saluting criminals. We will deal with those that want to bring insecurity in this country.
â€œThe Joyce Banda administration respects the separation of powers. So, we will arrest, take them to court and if found guilty, they will be jailed because that is what the Constitution says. But if Malawians want â€˜shoot-to-killâ€™, then let them put it in writing to the Executive and Madam Joyce Banda is ready to change laws in the interest of what Malawians want,â€ he said.
The minister also said there were some police officers fuelling crime because they are influenced by politics.
On the increase in crime rate, Mussa said government has reports that some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Youth Cadets who were given firearms are involved.
But DPP secretary general Elias Wakuda Kamanga on Wednesday dismissed Mussaâ€™s allegations, saying the party has never possessed firearms at anytime; hence, it could not have armed its youth wing.
Dzonzi agreed with the minister that unless the law was changed, under his leadership, the police would not implement the â€˜shoot to kill policyâ€™ as a means of fighting crime in the country.
Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) board member Billy Mayaya said in an interview that the civil society was satisfied with the removal of the shoot-to-kill directive.
â€œWe would like to point out that the police need to exercise restraint but at the same time fulfil its mandate to protect all citizens,â€ he said.