The Malawi Law Society (MLS) wants the country to abolish the use of police prosecutors and establish an independent prosecution body.
MLS president John Gift Mwakhwawa disclosed this on Monday during the presentation of a report on the rule of law in Malawi, â€˜The Road to Recoveryâ€™, by the International Bar Associationâ€™s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) in Lilongwe.
Among other findings, the report decries the policeâ€™s excessive use of force.
â€œExcessive use of force by the police is compounded by an increase in politically motivated violence in which the police have also been implicated,â€ reads the report in part.
In an interview, Mwakhwawa said: â€œMLS has found out that police prosecutors lack capacity as they require serious professionalism, supervision and training in terms of prosecution. It is for this reason that our body wants an independent prosecutions body to deal with the influence and conflict of interest police prosecutors face.
â€œHere is a law enforcer who is a prosecutor and under serious directions from the Executive; obviously you expect some interference in one way or the other… What we are hoping for is an independent body which we can start with paralegals limited to prosecution who can be headed by a professional lawyer. The body can even employ some of the police prosecutors, train them and detach them from the Executive,â€ he said.
National Police spokesperson Davie Chingwalu in an interview said coming up with an independent prosecutions body such as South Africaâ€™s National Prosecution Authority boils down to capacity.
â€œThe Malawi Police Service has a prosecutor or more in each and every district, but we still fail to bring suspects to court in time, resulting in a backlog of cases. One wonders then if MLS has the capacity to have a lawyer in each and every district as a prosecutor. Talking about paralegals for a start, they still need to be conversant with issues of the law which currently one cannot explicitly tell if they are,â€ said Chingwalu while acknowledging that the proposal is good.