Malawi Police Commissioner backs outdated rogue and vagabond

Malawi Police has insisted on continuing to make arrests using the outdated provisions of the Penal Code especially the Rogue and Vagabond despite growing concerns that such law only targets the poor and marginalized citizens.

Chigwenembe: Backs archaic Vagabond law

Chigwenembe: Backs archaic Vagabond law

Recently, Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) noted that there is massive abuse and gaps in the law and that the poor and marginalized groups such as prostitutes have been unfairly targeted.

CHREAA has been backing calls to review some of the archaic laws such as the Penal Code which are not in tandem with the modern times.

But speaking  in Tikhale Tcheru TV programme broadcasted on MBC-TV, Commissioner of Police for Southern Region, Demester Chigwenembe backed the rogue and vagabond provision, arguing law-enforcers will continue making arrests in a bid of protecting people and enhancing security.

“We will continue our sweeping exercises or rogue and vagabond as stipulated in Section 184 of Penal Code. Most people have commended us over sweeping exercises,” said Commissioner Chigwenembe.

Malawians have been complaining how law-enforcers abuse rogue and vagabond provision as those arrested are usually subjected to physical torture.

CHREAA Executive Director Victor Mhango recently proposed the need to revisit the Penal Code or train the law-enforcers on how to implement it.

Project lawyer for Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), Anneke Meerkotter supported Mhango’s views, saying “The Penal Code provisions on rogue and vagabond date back to the English vagrancy laws of previous centuries and they are out of step in the modern constitutional democracy like Malawi.”

Tikhale Tcheru TV programme continues to attract huge following due to critical and penitent issues presented. The programme’s current episodes are being sponsored by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).

Tikhale Tcheru is a Malawi Police TV programme beamed on MBC-TV every Saturday noon and is repeated every Mondays.

The programme is recorded and  produced by Blantyre based media agency Elephant Media Productions.


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2 thoughts on “Malawi Police Commissioner backs outdated rogue and vagabond”

  1. Zifwamba Zathu says:

    Traditionally, rogue and vagabond offences were crafted in a broad manner, giving police more discretion by creating a lighter burden of proof than other offences (without requirements relating to conduct, causation or intention) and allowing arrests on mere suspicion and without a warrant.
    Sociologists have suggested three main purposes for English vagrancy laws:
    To curtail the mobility of persons and criminalise begging, thereby ensuring the availability of cheap labour to land owners and industrialists whilst limiting the presence of undesirable persons in the cities
    To reduce the costs incurred by local municipalities and parishes to look after the poor
    To prevent property crimes by creating broad crimes providing wide discretion to law enforcement officials

    The offences in the 1824 Act eventually found their way into the Penal Codes of former British colonies.
    By the late 1800s, English criminal law applied in many areas under British control.
    In 1902, English law became effective in Malawi through the British Central African Order in Council.
    To ensure uniformity in the application of its criminal laws, Britain developed Model Criminal Codes, which explains the similarity between offences in former colonies. These Criminal Codes represented imposed codification, written by British imperial administrators, using English laws and involving little by way of local input. The Penal Codes of many commonwealth countries are based on these Codes.
    During colonialism, rogue and vagabond offences were primarily aimed at maintaining control in colonies and imprisonment was preferred form of punishment. This practice has remained intact in post-independence Africa and many of the rogue and vagabond offences have remained unaltered.

  2. be humane says:

    From arguements of CHREEAA i think the best way is to advocate against the police abuse of power in the manner the Law is implemented. A Malawi tiyeni tiziganiziranso security yathu tikamatsutsana ndi zinazi. Imagine where the police stop conducting sweeping campaigns. Most dangerious robbers are arrested during such operations. Lamulo likachoka ife tomwe ndi amene tidzayambe kudandaula kuti security kulibe. a NGOs do these things for their survival

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