Relations of 10 people who were shot dead in the July 20 2011 anti-government demonstrations in Mzuzu have given Malawi Police Service a 90-day ultimatum to pay them K3 billion (US$7371 007.37) as compensation for the deaths.
The letter, which is addressed to the Inspector General of Police Lot Dzonzi and signed by the families’ lawyer George Kadzipatike, identified the 10 as Abel Kanyenda, Chimwemwe Ngwira, Charles Chibambo, Kings Msuku, Mabvuto Banda, Timeyo Juba, Precious Juluka Kaunda, Samson Ngulube, Aaron Chitenje and Jacob Nyangali.
The letter dated March 20 2014 states that the police acted unprofessionally in shooting the 10, hence are responsible for the compensation, which could see each family getting K300 million (US$7371) for each victim.
The letter argues that police are not allowed to shoot to kill, but rather shoot to disable in cases where a person is escaping from lawful custody, a person is rescuing or attempting to rescue another person from lawful custody and where a person is preventing or attempting to prevent the arrest of themselves or another person, and the cases did not apply in the shooting of the 10.
“The basis of our clients’ demand are the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Statute Law [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act which provide that where a person be it natural or legal person, including the government has wrongfully caused the death of another person, the relations of the deceased person are entitled to claim damages from the person who has caused that wrongful deaths.
“We find the deaths of the aforementioned deceased persons wrongful and unlawful because the circumstances under which they were shot to death do not comply with Section 30 of the Police Act Chapter 13:01 of the Laws of Malawi,” reads the letter.
Asked why the matter was addressed to police instead of the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Kadzipatike on Sunday said orders to kill the people did not come from the President. He said police acted on their own.
Dzonzi said the letter had not reached him. However, he said he would be able to respond after getting the letter.