By Jameson Chauluka
Three trainee immigration officers have died in the current cohort alone, raising questions on the intensity of physical interviews and training.
Two of the three officers collapsed and died while running round Mapanga Ground in Blantyre as part of physical interviews in October 2017 while one, Timothy Kandeu, died on the 11th of this month during his last physical training at Nkula.
A source close to the recruitment and training issues at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services said the recruits undergo intense and rigorous physical exercises as part of interviews and trainings.
“With the coming of Mr Medi, the new Director General of the Department, people are running five laps around a football pitch five times as part of interviews. They are being beaten and tortured only to be told they have failed the interviews,” said the source.
But while confirming that some people have died, Medi said the deaths were not connected to the physical training the officers undergo.
He said, if it is true that the deaths are connected to training, more people would have been dying.
“Those who aspire for military jobs must prepare for such interviews and training in advance. Some people came drunk and failed to run. Two people collapsed while running and died. The death of the other officer, who died recently, was purely natural. I ordered a postmortem which revealed that he died when a nerve burst in his head because of high blood pressure,” he said.
Medi said the new training system, where the recruits were told to run round the ground five times before joining the department, was not introduced to the department by him, saying it is the decision of the training committee.
“There are so many people out there who are looking for jobs. The training committee introduced that system so that only those who are physically fit can go for training,” he said.
Osman Kandeu, Timothy’s father, said he is devastated by the death of his son.
He said Timothy did not have any history of high blood pressure, adding that his family does not understand how his son died.
“Throughout his life, he never suffered from high blood pressure, including the time he was in the training. We were never told of his sickness, only to be told of the death,” he said.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation Executive Director, Timothy Mtambo, said there is need to respect people’s rights, especially the right to life in any profession, including security institutions, by putting in place measures to safeguard lives.