The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Tuesday asked government to institute a special police complaints commission to investigate the killing of 20 demonstrators on July 20 2011.
MCPâ€™s call comes against a background of accusations that the police used live ammunition to kill the victims.
MCP spokesperson in Parliament Alekeni Menyani made the demand at the beginning of a debate on a Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) report on the demonstrations. The report, among other things, blames the police for the death of the 20.
Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara, who is also the Attorney General, tabled the report in the House on Friday.
However, before debate started on the report on Tuesday, the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) moved to block the debate, arguing that the report was supposed to be tabled in the House through Parliamentâ€™s Legal Affairs Committee and not directly from the MHRC.
Said Menyani: “In this report, it seems the police were the most uncooperative and up to this day. The police has not in any way accounted for the live ammunition used to kill the victims.
“MCP would want to ask government to establish a police complaints commission that should investigate the matter further.â€
He said such a commission would, among other issues, be mandated to investigate police officers mentioned in the report, find an appropriate way of dealing with them and also trace who ordered the shooting with the live bullets.
Menyani also asked government to find ways of compensating families of those who were killed as well as other victims such as journalists who are said to have been beaten by the police.
He described events of July 20 2011 as the climax of the countryâ€™s dictatorial rule.
However, in his contribution, DPP spokesperson on the matter Francis Kasaila said the demonstrations and its outcome should save as a lesson to all Malawians.
“As DPP, we are ready to reform. It is our hope that our colleagues from that side will also reform,” said Kasaila who pushed part of the blame on the bloodshed to civil society organisations and political parties which are mentioned in the report to have had an interest to take part in the demonstrations.
Prior to the debate, Chitipa East MP Chimango Mughogho-Gondwe (DPP) sought guidance from First Deputy Speaker Jones Chingola on whether it was appropriate to debate a report which has not gone through the Legal Affairs Committee.
Despite Mughogho-Gondwe being supported by leader of DPP in the House George Chaponda, Chingola overruled the MP, but with an observation that debate should be restricted to matters in the report since there is also a commission of inquiry looking into the July 20 events.
The debate on the report is expected to continue Wednesday.