Malawi Police Service (MPS) has come under the spotlight over the mess that has characterised its 2016 constables’
recruitment exercise when more “recruits” than shortlisted turned up for training.
MPS released a list of about 700 people to undergo training at its three police training schools (PTS) at Limbe in Blantyre; Mtakataka in Dedza and Mlangeni in Ntcheu on May 32016, according to an offer letter The Nation has seen.
The prospective recruits, who were successful during last month’s compulsory oral and written interviews, were asked to report for training at their respective schools on May 16 2016 and latest by May 18 or risk losing their places.
However, the exercise has turned into a mess after the schools got overwhelmed with an unprecedented number of “shortlisted” people presenting themselves for the training.
When The Nation visited Limbe PTS yesterday, scores of people with their luggage were seen wandering about at the main entrance of the campus. They were in possession of offer letters.
Police sources told The Nation the people were allegedly brought by some politicians (names withheld) affiliated to the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), including some Cabinet ministers despite not sitting for the interviews.
The police sources alleged that the move was a handiwork of a senior officer in the MPS hierarchy, at the National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe, who agreed with some politicians to submit names of loyalists for consideration for the “opportunity” at the expense of successful candidates.
Said one police source: “The tradition is that once short listing has been done, the successful names are pasted in strategic police stations, but that has not been done this time to deliberately conceal the move [to bring in other people].”
Some youths who claimed were from Chiradzulu District confirmed to The Nation in an interview to have been “offered” the opportunity for the training.
Further, the sources said 42 of the already admitted prospective recruits (18 females and 24 males) are on the verge of being thrown out because they are not on the original list.
The police sources wondered how the people could be recruited to serve in the country’s law enforcement agency without being medically examined and vetted, among other conditions.
But in an interview yesterday, DPP secretary general Eclain Kudontoni described assertions that the party in power bulldozed its way as incorrect.
He distanced his party from the chaos, saying: “We don’t know those people. May be the responsible people took them there in their individual capacities.”
Following the development, the trainers refused to start training the recruits until they got direction by the head of human resources.
MPS director of human resources and management Joseph Chambuluka confirmed travelling to Limbe PTS to resolve the matter.
In an interview on Thursday, he said the suspected ‘bogus’ trainees were denied entry into the campus because they had counterfeit offer letters.
Said Chambuluka: “There are some anomalies that have been discovered. That is why I am now on my way travelling to Blantyre [from Lilongwe] to sort out the matter. Some are bringing fake offer letters, which we are told they obtained after scanning other people’s offer letters.”
The police sources also said Mtakataka PTS deputy commandant sent back some people who turned up for training at the institution with authentic offer letters from police headquarters, but their names were missing on the list the institution received.
According to the sources, the shortlisted 700 trainees are expected to split into squads of 300 each for Limbe and Mtakataka with Mlangeni accommodating 100.
However, the source said Limbe already received over 1 000 people who cannot be housed in available facilities at the school.
While declining to accept that the recruitment exercise had been botched up, National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa expressed ignorance that the people loitering around the school were brought by politicians.
He explained: “We don’t work on rumours. We invited the people who were successful, and these people will take oath [and] thereafter start training. As for those who are outside, just loitering, they will remain there and watch their friends training.”
In the February/March meeting of Parliament, leader of opposition and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarous Chakwera faulted police recruitment, system arguing that it was a catalyst of security lapse in the country