LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow) –Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has directed the police to arrest beggars and street children in all three cities of Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre.
Commenting on the issue, the Secretary for Gender, Mary Shaba said in the capital Lilongwe that there are a lot of children in the streets who are under the instigation of older people or their parents.
“The police should arrest these children including their parents and guardians who are sending them. We want these children to be in school not in the streets begging,” she said.
According to the survey done by the Ministry in 2015, there are 4,400 street children on the country’s streets of which 400 are genuinely homeless.
But Malawi Law Society (MLS) President Khumbo Soko said the government’s directive on the arrest was unsustainable because the country’s prisons are already congested.
“The best way was to address the problems that compel them to be on the streets. If the government fails to address the core issues they will come back to the streets some time,” he said.
Begging in Malawi is a criminal offence under Section 180 of the Penal Code, which stipulates that anyone found wandering, seeking alms, causing, procuring or encouraging any child to do so, is termed an idle and disorderly person and can be arrested and charged.