Parliament warns against arresting beggars in Malawi streets

Malawi Parliament has sternly warned the government against arresting street beggars some of whom are minors, saying this cannot be a solution to the tendency.

Kaliati:

Kaliati: Poverty should ne used as an excuse

Some street kids in Malawi begging from a motorist

Some street kids in Malawi begging from a motorist

Chairman of parliament’ Social Services Committee Richard Chimwendo Banda said the arrest of young street beggars will only turn them into hardcore criminals as prison is not a good place for rehabilitation.

“We agree that these children need to be in schools, they should be out of the streets but they should not be arrested as this may harden them,” said Chimwendo Banda.

However, Principal Secretary for Gender Ministry Mary Shaba said street beggars have until the end of March to be on the streets or risk arrest.

“Actually, we will also arrest those who give alms because the law empowers us to do so,” she said.

Shaba said the ministry will place officers and police who will effect arrest on the spot on those giving the alms and beggars.

Minister of Gender Patricia Kaliati said the government has exhausted all means to take street beggars out of the streets.

“We have given them money, sewing machines and other things so that they engage in income generating activities but they still come back. Our concern is that they use children who should be in class to beg on the streets this is why we.will arrest parents whose children are in the streets,” she said.

However some street beggars in Lilongwe have brushed aside Kaliati’s assertion as mere rhetoric.

“We cannot be here suffering and humiliated if the government gave us an alternative means of earning a living,” said a blind man near Lilongwe bridge.

A woman with disabled legs said she will not leave the street, saying she has one choice of either leaving the street and starve to death or be in the street to survive.

Executive director for Federation for Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma) Action Amosi  is on record saying that poverty remains at the core of the swelling numbers of street beggars.

“Because it is not only people with disabilities who are begging, it means the problem is bigger. Now that calls for government to start addressing the root causes by coming up with sustainable initiatives to empower its most vulnerable citizens. Unfortunately, this is costly to our economy too,” he said.

However, Amosi demanded a tightening of controls to begging, citing cases where the rights of children of parents with disabilities are denied opportunities to develop.

“So many times parents take advantage of these children and use them into handlers as they go about begging. But these children were supposed to be in school so that they can secure their future to become independent; they might even help their parents in future. This is against all local and international child rights protocols. Such exploitation must stop,” he said.

But  Kaliati argues that “poverty is not a new phenomenon and should not be used as an excuse for acting improperly.”

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23 thoughts on “Parliament warns against arresting beggars in Malawi streets”

  1. Nilibe Pulobulem says:

    Nyengere, number 19, Sorry, I forgot Senior Chief Ngongoliwa. Mwina kamtima nkukhala pansi eti?

  2. You parliamentarians you dont think properly i dont know if this you just want to buy favurs.Coz begging as the way these beggers are doing,cant help them rather than abide by what the government id saying.Zimapasa manyazi kwa alendo obwera m’dziko muno beggers almost every corner of our cities and towns.Let them stay away from the streets and attend school for better future Malawi

  3. Namulangeni says:

    i agree with the government with the solution of arresting them plus the people who choose to be giving them money,its apitty that some parents instead of sending their children to school they do send them to go beg on the street to beg with giving them a target amount to bring it home.as parents we are not helping the children cause in the future they will be hardcore criminals cause of the love of money,and on top of that this kids during the night mmmmh!!!!!! there just heartles and thieves so the government to its side it has done and try kwatsala ndikwathu to help the government on how to solve this issue. ilike nthawi ya Dr bakili muluzi anawapikula onse kaya anakawataya kuti n population of this street begers was very low.

  4. Winston Msowoya says:

    Fellow Malawians,we must not castigate children for begging besides the our roads.This is a clear indication that their government has failed them.The whole country must come with a constructive solution to help our future leaders,we must not abandon our future leaders when we are all gone.Kaliati is not in a position to help these helpless boys and girls and of course,she minds her own well being,which is regrettably,unpartriotic and deadly irresponsible.One wonders why does the government lavishly spend public funds instead of helping these young people.However,the so-called President would care the less,because his children are living beyond the seas with fat accounts there.SHAME MALAWIANS!!!!

  5. nyengere says:

    Nilibepolobulem number 9 you are a fool. Who told you that Mwari, mathanyula, thaphatula, winiko and manganya are among the beautiful and handsome LOMWES. You have given bad examplesfor our tribe. Lomwe beauties and hand somes are out of your list. Look at Manga with his big head, then Mwari’s lips. Next time choose the beautiful and handsome LOMWES.

  6. Mbunga says:

    If we turn to the bible about these issues, then we’ll get it all wrong. The reason I’m saying this is: the bible has alot of dimensions whereby both sides will end up being right. Firstly, the bible does not entertain laziness. Going by this vein of thinking, those that are advocating for the abolition of begging will carry the day since no single person can stand up here to say I’m a hard worker because I work hard in my begging activities. On the other hand, the very same bible advocates for alms giving which is in line with the other group that are opposing the abolition of begging and therefore arrests of street beggers.

    However, looking at the economic point of view, begging cannot and will not improve the lives of the beneficiaries of the alms just as much as it’ll not help the economy to grow.

    In my point of view, I prefer to go with the abolition. Here’s why: We all as Malawians are presented with a myriad of options with which we can earn a living. We choose the one that appeals to us after considering several factors. The chosen option may work for us or not, upon which we go for the second best option.

    To me, begging is not the only option they have. I can even speculate that some of them are seasonal beggars as can be noticed tht their numbers fluctuate time and again. This means they have other options. Some of them look as just energetic, which means they can provide labor and therefore contribute actively to the economy.

  7. Concerned says:

    Ayambe Pitala ndi DPP kuleka going out with a begging bowl to other nations. However, the problem is that whenever these children/people are put in rehabilitation to learn some skills, they run away and return to the streets. They do not want to work. The Bible says, “Those who don’t work should not eat.” How do these beggars expect to eat when they do not want to work? We have good examples of people with disabilities who fend for their families. Many persons with disabilities have skills and all they need is to be given assistance to get started and use their skills. Muli malo ambiri ofunika kulima m’midzimu koma these people do not want to till the ground to get food. Maganyu ndi osasowa mmidzimu olima but they just love to be on the streets. Worse still, when they are given the money, they buy sweets instead of using it to start something so they can be settled. Kugula mlaza n’kumaluka masache anthu azigula bwinobwino. It is just laziness that these people come to the streets. The long times they spend on the streets would then be used profitably by engaging into something profitable and that is when people of good will would come in to give them a boost. I read of a certain person with a disability that he was feeding a certain hospital from what he produced on his land. Even the Blind can till the ground and gain something. The parents who send their children to the streets do not love their kids. They could be abused on the streets and sometimes tempted to steal. Government should think of something positive to help these vulnerable citizens so they can stand on their own and fend for themselves and even help their parents. Most of the times I see a non-disabled girl chasing after a gentleman for alms. This is too bad although we know that even during the time of Jesus, beggars were there, let us join forces to assist these people for them to be independent and help in the development of our nation.

  8. H Kamdidi says:

    It is so funny! The same Kaliati was defending handouts to his constituents during the NDI campaign against MPs dishing out handouts. She said each and every time she goes to her area she carries some money not less than MK100,000 to carter for people who would come asking for help from her! “Asking for help….how different is it from begging?”

  9. ameneyo says:

    I may not be a big fun of the lady minister but on this matter I WILL always be in agreement with Hon. Kaliati (Mrs). It is just a matter of time before a beggar will be hit by a vehicle because they rush from one side of the road to the other, on wheel chairs or on foot. Poverty may be an issue but it is definitely not the whole story. I think someone needs to do serious research work on the real causes of such rampant begging in Malawi and recommend workable solutions to this cancer once and for all. The minister is complaining that all efforts have been made but beggars are still flooding the streets of towns and cities because apart from what I have explained above, the government seems to be fighting a lone battle. All of us need to help the government. Some of the beggars are our relatives and yet we do nothing about it.

  10. Thitherward 'wendo says:

    We would all do well to act on the words echoed by Masozi Mwenifumbo: ‘Blessed is the person who gives to the poor . . . .’

  11. Pwiya wa Pwiya says:

    Begging is everywhere even in the most developed nations. Its not therefore advisable to arrest them as if they have committed any crime. Why should we use the most needed police resources to arrest innocent, poor and vulnerable children and disabled persons instead of letting the police fight criminals? I propose Ministry of Gender should explore further for more Human Rights Based interventions into the problem and rehabilitate some of these people.

  12. Number 4, Lhomwes are beautiful indeed..The likes of Mwanamveka, Chaponda, Winiko, Kaliati, Pitala, etc…Tima handsome ndithu!

  13. Dumayo says:

    Why arresting them only in cities? Then its better not to arrest them at all. Can’t you come down to district trading centres? Begging is rampant in Malawi. Can you organise a campaign to stop begging and push them away from all trading premises.

  14. Masozi Mwenifumbo says:

    Malawi! Hear this!

    Blessed is the man who gives to the poor, for he in so doing lends to God, who will in turn bless him abundantly. The Master Himself in Matt , 6, and Luke 12 commands us all everywhere in the nation and the world to “GIVE ALMS TO THE POOR WITHOUT HYPOCRISY!!!!”

    So we should obey God who commands us to do so, and not man who DISOBEYS SUCH SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD COMMANDS OF GOD FOR US ALL, BE IT INDIVIDUALS OR NATIONS OF PEOPLE!

    Anyone who does contrary to God’s inerrant and eternally unchanging Word is IN THE CURSED GOATS-GROUP OF MATTHEW 25:31-46, WHERE THE LORD WARNED US, “Whatever you do to any least of these (ie bad, like not giving alms to the poor, and commanding others do so in the name of whosoever or whatsoever), you do to Me.

    Malawi! Why should continue provoking God’s wrath as we do daily, yet we are fully aware that it is our wickedness as a nation (with 80% Christian population) that has plunged into the current predicaments that are affecting us now?

    Repent! Or you still are going to abide under God’s wrath and perish in your sins, for He is no respecter of persons, and He is the FAITHFUL DEFENDER OF THE POOR/VOICELESS/ORPHANS/WIDOWS/OPPRESSED/VULNERABLE!!!! Be wise and repent and be born anew in Christ Jesus for the salvation of your souls and the nation from the wicked forces that have taken advantage of our disobedience to God’s Word, the Holy Bible, by inflicting upon our beautiful nation and country such miseries!!!

  15. Number 4, you are right. Lhomwes are beautiful people…The likes of Chaponda, Peter,Mwanamveka, Winiko and Kaliati…Smoth faces indeed (in nyau terms)

  16. pido says:

    In Southern region popeza na awo amachokera kwa anthu ngati kaliati wammuna uja nkuwakana. Centra is afflicted by South, Zitsiru za anthu

  17. Masozi Mwenifumbo says:

    Malawi!

    Why are you bent on enacting SOME laws which are against God’s own commands in the Holy Bible, yet you claim to have an 80% Christian population?

    You mean you did not know these simple commands by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:42a, saying, “Give to the one ONE WHO BEGS FROM YOU….”, and He went on to warn us against hypocritical ALMS GIVING Matthew 6: 1-4, WHEN DOING WHAT WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO ie, “GIVING TO THE POOR/NEEDY!!!” HE REPEATED THIS IN LUKE 12:32-34, when He commanded us all again, “Sell your possessions, AND GIVE TO THE NEEDY. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!!!”

    Or have you not read in Proverbs 28:27, “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes WILL GET MANY A CURSE.” Or in Proverbs 29:7, “A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; but a WICKED MAN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND SUCH KNOWLEDGE.” Or in Proverbs 14, “Whoever despises his neighbour IS A SINNER, BUT Blessed is he who is generous to the poor.” Or Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous TO THE POOR LENDS TO GOD, AND HE WILL REPAY HIM FOR HIS DEED!!!” Or Proverbs 17:5a, “Whoever mocks the poor INSULTS HIS MAKER (GOD).” Or Proverbs 21, “Whoever CLOSES HIS EAR TO THE CRY OF THE POOR WILL HIMSELF CALL OUT AND NOT BE ANSWERED!!!!” Or Proverbs 22:2, “The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the Maker of them ALL!!!” Or Proverbs 22:9, “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, FOR HE SHARES HIS BREAD WITH THE POOR !!!” “Or Proverbs 17:26, “To impose A FINE ON A RIGHTEOUS MAN IS NOT GOOD, NOR TO STRIKE THE NOBLE FOR THEIR UPRIGHTNESS!!!”

    Or do you want to make yourself and the Malawian nation TO BE full of the CURSED GOATS-GROUP IN MATTHEW 25: 41-46, where the Lord Himself mets His final judgement saying in verses 41-42…45, “Depart from Me, you cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me NO FOOD, I was thirsty and you gave Me NO DRINK…. Truly I say to you, AS YOU DID NOT DO IT TO ONE THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU DID NOT DO IT TO ME!!!”

    Malawi, are we going to continue provoking more of God’s wrath now, when we clearly know that we are in this current appalling conditions spiritually, morally, socially, economically, due to “OUR LOVE WAXING COLD TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER ESPECIALLY THE VULNERABLE AMONGST OUR SOCIETY? Are we stronger than God, whose commands are so clear to us? But we instead of simply humbling ourselves UNDER THESE PREVAILING PREDICAMENTS before God with genuine humility, repentance, and new birth in Christ Jesus, WE STILL willingly and defiantly flout HIS INERRANT WORD at will, with full knowledge that we do not have to hide before God under any form of excuse for our wicked deeds!

    Alas for my beloved country!!!! Arise Oh God and judge and vindicate the poor, oppressed, widows, orphans, powerless, voiceless, THAT A DUSTY MAN OF THE EARTH SHOULD NOT BOAST IN YOUR PRESENCE, FOR YOU ARE NO RESPECTER OF PERSON, OH LORD, HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS IN COUNSEL AND MIGHT!!!

  18. smart says:

    Its not only street kids.Come in the cities of LL AND BT /LIMBE on fridays you will be surprised to see well abled women from from the villages begging in mosques.Anthu awa ndi khalibwe lawo.Laziness ndi kumangoberekana.They don’t want to work hard to earn their living…nchifukwa chake or ma vote amabera..kkkkkkkkkkkkk,…..

  19. Hitler says:

    how can beggars beg from people who are so stingy with everything. The other thing is that the north doesnt ve streets for the beggars to operate from. Most roads are either dusty or muddy. These are not conducive environment for beggars. Check some of the beggars in Lilongwe, they speak tumbuka, Tonga, sena and many others. Do you think Lilongwe has a school where they learnt those languages?

  20. Mapwevupwevu says:

    Look at these stupid MPs, oppossing for the sake of opposing! Begging and giving alms is against the law you stupid MP!

    And to you Fred (comment number 2), these people begging in BT and LL are offsprings of tumbuka men who impregnated their mothers and decided to run away. You can tell by simply looking at their ugly faces that these beggars are of tumbuka origin!

  21. Chilungamo Chimawawa says:

    hahhahahaha number 1 is right. begging in north is very minimal almost 1.1% out of 100% in Malawi. Muwafunse a neighbour kuti vuto ndi chani? kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  22. fred says:

    NUmber one comment, it means there is no money in Mzuzu. TOO POOR

  23. shatapunonsense says:

    Begging is rampant in central and southern region. There are no beggars in Mzuzu city let alone northern region. Ngati muli ndi nzeru ask yourselves why not north? These two regions is out of sheer stupidity and laziness. Why promote imbecility and idiocy in people by giving them alms? How will they learn that hard work pays? Our friends in the north safeguard their dignity by working hard both in schools and farms!!!! Imitate from them you lunatics!! Malawi is wayward because of such mindsets expecting to get everything for free. Nonsense. Arrest them all and those who give alms as well, I agree to that because they promote laziness. Am ashamed to be a southerner.

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