Just two days before the latest episode of the Blantyre derby, domestic football powerhouses—Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets—have joined forces in rejecting police and stewards’ services at the match.
The Nomads host the People’s Team in a second round TNM Super League showdown at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Saturday.
In a letter co-signed by the Nomads chairperson George Chamangwana and his Bullets counterpart Noel Lipipa, addressed to Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary which, The Nation has seen, the two teams say they will not use Malawi Police Service (MPS) and stewards, citing failure to verify their numbers, poor performance, area of responsibility and integrity.
“Sulom are, therefore, advised to immediately source alternative security for the match. The stewards will be provided by supporters from both clubs,” reads part of the letter dated October 4 2016.
On the issue of numbers, the two teams argue that they “have never been able or allowed to verify the numbers despite paying for the security”.
“We [also] do not understand the area of responsibility of these two organs because any lapse in security is paid for by the clubs through fines despite the clubs paying huge sums of money to these two entities.”
The two giants also claim that the two security bodies’ performance leaves a lot to be desired.
“Clubs are at times fined for the activities of one supporter because neither the police nor stewards are able to apprehend just a solitary individual.”
They further claim that on a number of occasions during both preparatory and post-match meetings, they have heard testimonies from stakeholders of security personnel being in the forefront of aiding and abetting “free” entry into the stadium to their financial advantage at the expense of clubs.
“We, [therefore], mandate Sulom to source an alternative for the police security and to make sure they sign a liability clause with the new security organisation in case there is a breakdown in security on their watch.
“Clubs will provide 40 stewards each, which we can deploy and monitor ourselves. We will be responsible for any poor performance by these club stewards. If we have to pay fines, we would rather do so while using our own people,” the letter further reads.
Sulom GS Williams Banda said there is need for a roundtable meeting to discuss the two teams’ concerns and agree on tangible solutions.
“According to the Malawi Constitution, issues of internal security are in the hands of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security and the agency of implementing the internal security is the Malawi Police Service.
“I will ensure that the meeting is conducted to iron out the issues accordingly before coming up with a resolution,” he said.
Police spokesperson for Southern Region, Beatrice Mikuwa, expressed ignorance on the matter.
“Honestly, I am hearing it from you, but what I can say is that there is no way such a high-profile match can be played without police security, it would be a big risk.
“Perhaps what they [the teams] ought to know is that police go to such public events to protect lives and property. Some people go there to steal other people’s property and cause disorder and, therefore, the need for our presence,” she said.
Mikuwa said the police were supposed to have a preparatory meeting with representatives of the two teams and stakeholders later yesterday, “and perhaps that is where the issue will be discussed.” n