New Malawi President fires Police Chief

Human rights groups welcomed the decision by Joyce Banda, who succeeded Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday 7 March after his death from a heart attack.

Police Inspector General Peter Mukhito was replaced by Police Commissioner Loti Dzonzi a day after Joyce Banda was sworn in as President.

Mukhito was appointed by Mutharika two years ago. Human rights groups accused him of instilling a climate of fear including arbitrary arrests and the shooting dead of 19 people during anti-government protests last year.

The Nyasa Times reports Dzonzi joined the Malawi Police Service in 1987 as an English teacher at Police Secondary School in Zomba. Subsequently he has served as station officer, commandant for the Police College, Commissioner responsible for research and training, Commissioner for Eastern and Southern region, and Commissioner of Police responsible for Administration at National Police headquarters. Dzonzi is also a preacher and motivational writer in his spare time.

The Public Appointments Committee of Parliament must still confirm the appointment.

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