Parliament yesterday approved George Kainja as Inspector General (IG) of Police despite attempts by former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators to block the move.
Kainja was appointed in July by President Lazarus Chakwera but worked in an acting capacity awaiting Parliament’s nod.
To confirm him, Parliament voted to follow the voice nod system after opting out of the normal secret voting that the House was required to follow.
The IG’s confirmation came after he received bloc support from the government side, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Public Appointments Committee.
Only DPP legislators rejected the IG’s confirmation while the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) reserved its stand.
The process began with Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda moving that Parliament needed to approve Kainja’s appointment mainly because he has over 27 years experience in the Malawi Police Service and is eager to build a trusted and people-centred police service.
He said in the past two months, Kainja has chalked up impressive deliverables, including arresting suspected criminals who were deemed ‘untouchables’ and busting a Nigerian drug network.
Chimwendo Banda said Kainja, who has a doctorate degree, has shown professionalism in managing the police, as he has made several promotions, appointments and promotions based on merit and gender balance in his quest to empower young people in the police service.
Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe seconded the confirmation.
But chaos arose in the House when DPP spokesperson on matters of security Chipiliro Mpinganjira said Parliament should reject Kainja’s confirmation. He argued that the IG has shown tribalistic traits in the few months that he has been heading the police, including effecting transfers of police officers on tribal grounds.
Mpinganjira, who is DPP legislator for Blantyre City Centre, was booed by government legislators as he alleged that Kainja is embarking on selective justice by arresting members of opposition parties only.
He said: “Government is shielding people in government, including ministers, who led demonstrations that led to the destruction of property and businesses.”
Many legislators were surprised to note that UDF, which partnered DPP in the 2020 Fresh Presidential Election, supported the confirmation of Kainja saying he is well qualified and rose within the ranks to be where he is.
UDF spokesperson on security matters in Parliament Lilian Patel stressed that the party wants police to be professional and implement reforms to ensure that the police is people-centred.
Aford parliamentarian Yeremiah Chihana alleged that Kainja has shown tribalistic behaviour by transferring people from the North and other regions while protecting those from the Centre.
Earlier, Public Appointments Committee chairperson Joyce Chitsulo said PAC found Kainja to be competent to head the police service. She defended his qualifications, saying investigation by PAC showed he had the right qualifications.
Kainja last night refused to be interviewed, saying he was busy in meetings.