The Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament has interviewed a presidential appointee for the office of Inspector General of Police before confirmation is tabled in the National Assembly later this month.
Acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa was on Friday subjected to a three–hour interview at Parliament, to explain his competences for the top position in the Malawi Police Service (MPS).
Mwapasa, who was Deputy Inspector General of Police responsible for operations, was appointed acting IG last month, to replace Rodney Jose who has proceeded on holiday ahead of his retirement in November this year. Jose has served in the service for 36 years.
In an interview immediately after a session with Mwapasa, PAC chairperson Collins Kajawa said the committee will present a report in the National Assembly during the confirmation of the IG.
“If you look at the Constitution, it actually says the State President will appoint, subject to the confirmation by Parliament. Actually, issues of public appointments fall under the mandate of PAC. So, the committee needs to thoroughly look at the issue of competences and experience to get to understand the person before a general debate,” he said.
Previously, IGs had their confirmation deliberated in the
National Assembly without prior interview by PAC, even when this is provided for in the law.
“The Inspector General of Police shall be appointed by the President and confirmed by the National Assembly by a majority of the members present and voting, but the Public Appointments Committee may at any time inquire as to the competence of the person so appointed to carry out the duties of that office and as to such other
bearing on the performance of the duties of that office” reads Section 54 (2) of the Constitution. questions as may have direct
Standing Order 157 also mandates PAC to scrutinise, consider and inquire into the competence of public appointees.
Asked if PAC was impressed with the performance of the acting IG, Kajawa said he could not state anything at this time as it is work in progress. He said their interview was to assess the appointee’s level of professionalism and capability in relation to the post of Police Chief.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a member of the committee who attended the interview, described it as interactive and exhaustive, where members asked all necessary questions.
The member said one major question was about how, if confirmed, the IG intends to depoliticise the police service which many feel is inclined to serve the interest of the ruling party at the expense of its mandate.
“There is a feeling that the police service is compromised so the committee wanted to know how he intends to execute his duties in a position or appointment which is more of a reward for some loyalty.
“Despite the perception that the appointee may have a soft spot to the ruling party, he generally demonstrated great understanding of his job. He has both the necessary qualification and experience to perform the function of the office. But this is just my observation as a member, of course as PAC we will have to agree on a common position before general debate,” explained the member.
Mwapasa once worked as guard commander for the late Bingu wa Mutharika, before he was deployed to Rumphi Police Station as officer in-charge during Joyce Banda’s time.
President Peter Mutharika appointed him as Deputy Inspector General. Like his predecessor, Mwapasa is also suffering from a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadet tag.
In an earlier interview with our sister newspaper The Nation, Mwapasa refuted the allegation that he was a ruling party sympathiser, stressing that he is a professional and ready to serve Malawians without bias. He said it was wrong to label him a cadet merely because he comes from Thyolo, the party’s stronghold, adding that where one comes from has nothing to do with professionalism.
His appointment comes at a time violent scenes, including looting and damage of property, have become the order of the day following the anti-Jane Ansah protests. In the protests, police officers have been targeted—some injured while others have lost property.
Mwapasa’s confirmation is expected to be tabled in the National Assembly later this month alongside the confirmation of the new Auditor General Joseph Nangantani