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: 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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Nilibe Pulobulem

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

kudya nkhupisaka

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

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 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… Read more »
Winston Msowoya
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… Read more »

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.

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… Read more »
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… Read more »
H Kamdidi

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?”

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… Read more »
Thitherward 'wendo

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

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