You could say—and probably get away with it—that Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama is a lucky man whose luck seems about to run out, if it has not already.
Last weekend, during an awareness campaign in Machinga against killings of people with albinism, Kachama stepped on a path well-trodden about four years ago by the late President Bingu wa Mutharika on how to deal with insecurity in the country.
At the time, Mutharika was so concerned about the destabilising effect of violent crimes on the business environment that he ordered the police to shoot on sight anyone suspect of committing a crime. Whether police officers took heed of his ‘security lesson’—which, no doubt, was being played to the gallery—is neither here nor there, but one eager professional police found Mutharika’s lecture educative and wholesomely edifying.
In Machinga, Kachama, the Mutharika student, similarly ordered his officers to shoot anyone found abducting or attempting to murder people with albinism for them to experience similar pain.
Now, if your police chief is so basic and so brutal in the way he feels crime should be dealt with, you know your police is ages away from embracing civilisation and the small thing we call democracy and respect for human rights.
Granted, murderers, thieves, abductors—in fact, all criminals—have no respect for human rights for anyone but their own. But that’s the reason, I suppose and in case the IG didn’t know, why civilised societies established police forces. An eye for an eye is the law of the judge by which criminals live but when your police chief starts to espouse the same creed, you have to fear for your person.
What else will he order his police officers to do? That if someone steals from me, he will send his officers to steal from the thief as well for them to feel the loss? I wish I could throw in rape for good measure but that would be gloss.
You know, the greater society, and not just people with albinism, is worried about the breakdown of security which Kachama and his police officers should address with utmost expediency. And, take it from me, the society would sooner barbeque any thief they catch than turn him over to law enforcers but the police themselves remind us at every turn to hand over such scum of the society to them for the entire process of law to take its course.
Kachama’s order takes the entire narrative in an entirely new direction. Imagine people have caught someone suspected of killing or trafficking a person with albinism and they deliver mob justice, would they be arrested? After all, they have saved the police of trouble and resources. But if these people cannot get away with it, I don’t see why police officers should.
The police might shoot one or two people who are suspected of abducting or attempting to murder people with albinism but that is far from solving the problem of general security breakdown.
Perhaps, like most have done, Kachama should have lamented the lenient sentences being handed out to offenders. He should have gone ahead to lobby responsible government arms for stiffer sentences or change to laws to provide for them.
Better still, this security breakdown probably speaks of inadequate investigative skills among police officers, which should have been one area he should have strived or promised to address.