I was bed-ridden that Sunday morning, the 11th of March 2012. I had just survived a motorcycle road accident, and was nursing a serious fracture on my right hand's phalanges. As happens under such circumstances, I was in a PoP. This is the day our former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, conducted the ground- breaking ceremony for Blantyre - Zomba road (John Chilembwe Highway) at Kachere trading centre in Blantyre.
Around 10 am, I heard the blaring of sirens and realised that the President was about to arrive. I ignored the pain, forced myself up, and run towards the fence of my house. I had decided, along with some women and children, to watch the ceremony from the safety of my fence. From that spot, I saw Bingu driving a caterpillar.
But five minutes barely elapsed before the women and children started running away from our point of assembly. I turned my head to see what was happening, and saw a Police Sub-Inspector carrying a steel-rod in his right hand. He stepped into my yard, shouting: "I told you to go away from this spot; why don't you want to obey?"
I realised that he was talking directly to me, and I informed him that I had just arrived at the place, and was not aware of any such instructions. The cop heard none of it, and pounced on me. He hit me continuously with the rod, targeting, specifically, the back of my left palm. Finally, he hit me at the back.
He did not mind all the people jeering at him. Visibly satisfied with the job he had carried out on me, he started off, walking majestically as if he were Macbeth after murdering King Duncan in Macbeth. He went straight to the venue of the ground-breaking ceremony. People were so amazed that he hit me on the left back of the palm while my other hand was in a PoP.
I decided to retreat to bed but, within minutes of doing so, discovered that the back of my left palm was swelling. Pain also persisted. I woke up and started hunting for the cop. When I finally traced him, I inquired about his name from other officers. Nobody was willing to give me his name.
I decided to go to Kachere Police Unit to report the assault as a prerequisite to accessing hospital treatment. This was after I instructed my maid to keep a close eye on him.
Unfortunately for me, the ground-breaking ceremony ended while I was still on my way to the police unit. The Presidential convoy headed towards Zomba for another ground-breaking ceremony. I was told by the maid that the cop in question had joined the convoy.
I took the medical report to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, where I was x-rayed. The diagnosis after the x-ray revealed that the swelling occasioned from soft tissue injury caused by the cop's rod of steel.
Reformation gone bad
I consulted my Lawyer over the prospects of pursuing the issue further in the courts. I decided to file a lawsuit against the Attorney General. However, friends and relatives advised me against going ahead with such action for some reasons, and I have reluctantly complied.
However, it is clear from the way I was treated that, while we are told that we have a reformed Malawi Police Service- which we are told is a result of the name-change from Malawi Police Force, as was the case in mid nineties- the minds of some police officers have not yet 'reformed'. We all know that the British Department for International Development has pumped millions of Kwacha into the reformation process but, to date, there is little to show for all the good-will.
Some of the barbaric acts in recent memory include that of a police officer who killed innocent passengers at Mbayani trading centre in 2008. In that case, the cop wanted to be palm-oiled but minibus driver refused to play game. When the infuriated cop decided to drive the vehicle with passengers still on board, it overturned.
Innocent lives were lost.