Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have raised a red flag over Rwanda Government offer to train Malawi Police Service (MPS) officers at no cost.
The offer was made through that country’s Inspector General of Police Dan Munyuza who was in Malawi last week for a five-day official visit.
Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (Cdedi) and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have since warned government to tread carefully on the complementary training.
Cdedi said the offer was surprising because Malawi never declared any section of police requiring capacity building nor did Rwanda indicate areas it wants to help in.
The organisation observed that the human rights record, Rwanda was nowhere near a model for countries striving to embrace genuine democracy to tap skills from.
Cdedi said despite infrastructural development Rwanda was making, it was not an open secret that its human rights record left a lot to be desired.
“There are massive reports of human rights violations bordering on excessive use of force by law enforcing agencies, unlawful and arbitrary detentions, internet restrictions by the State, lack of freedom of expression, human rights activists and opposition political
party leaders being silenced through arbitrary arrests and imprisonment based on trumped-up charges,” said the CSO in a statement signed by its executive director Sylvester Namiwa.
The organisation further said it was worried with the offer, which was coming at a time Rwanda was hunting down some of its nationals who sought political asylum in various countries, including Malawi.
“Ironically, this offer is also coming at a time when dust has not yet settled on accusations that President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) are pushing through Parliament laws having traits of dictatorship.
“We would like to challenge the Malawi Government to tread carefully with these newly-found good Samaritans. We would like to warn the Malawi Government, to desist from receiving offers that may end up compromising the country’s human rights record and democracy, and our hard-won democracy,” reads the statement.
On his part, HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said such one-off trainings were not necessary for the Malawi Police Service.
“The police service needs institutionalised and thorough
curriculum-based trainings that can address specific unprofessional conduct such as abuse of suspects that have been on the increase over the years,” he said.