Vagabond law ‘drunk and incapacitated’ – Judge Madise

Mzuzu High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise has criticised the country’s rogue and vagabond law, describing it as “drunk and incapacitated.”

Justice Madise:  The law is problematic

Justice Madise: The law is problematic

He said at Mzuzu University (Mzuni) during a public debate on vagrancy laws organized by the Centre for Human Rights, Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA).

Madise who earnestly recommended review of the law argued no law “criminalizes such thing as rogue and vagabond in Malawi.”

He said the laws did not make sense in Malawi’s present “democratic dispensation.”

During the debate which apart from Madise had such other panellists as Northern Region Prisons Chief Mashatini Moyo, Commissioner of Police (Centre) Dr. George Kayinja, Mzuzu City Council CEO Mcloud Kadammnja and rights activist and legal practitioner Chikondi Ngwira, it was revealed that the law was also contributing to the “overcrowding” of the country’s prisons.

According to Moyo, it was better to have the convicts do some sort of “community services” rather than thrown in jail.

But Kayinja was adamant and said the Malawi Police Service (MPS) would “continue enforcing the law” until a thorough judicial review was done.

Lawyer Ngwira appealed to parliament for the “speedy” review of vagrancy laws.

CHREAA is holding the debate across the country to raise awareness on the same. The Mzuni debate, broadcast live on Zodiak Broadcasting Station, was the second of the series.

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16 thoughts on “Vagabond law ‘drunk and incapacitated’ – Judge Madise”

  1. wika says:

    apolice amakonda vagabond chifukwa ndi njira yapafupi imene amatha kugonana/kugwiririra mahule omwe amawakana. komanso ndi njira imodzi yomwe amapezela ndalama mwachinyengo kuchokela kwa azibambo omwe awamana mowa

  2. malawi says:


  3. Will keep on following the rules pali zolzolinga palamulo

  4. Peter Muthanyula says:

    Dr Kayinja kulankhula ngati bulutu bwanji?

  5. Chanco graduate says:

    Mr I miss Kamuzu Banda or whatever ur name is.. understand wat the learned Judge z sayn.. “drunk n incapacitated” is just a figure of speech.. he means that its illogical n doesn’t work in this democratic dispensation.. kumavetsa zithu abale..

    1. i miss kamuzu banda and john tembo says:

      forgive me but i tend to scrutinise things to the very finest of details. you know how engineers are…

      what’s the relevance of the term ‘drunk and incapacitated’ to this story? if it is, as you say, just a figure of speach, then what is he trying to say? is he calling the law itself ‘drunk and incapacitated’, is he reterming the rogue and vagabond charge as drunk and incapacitated, or even still, is he saying the founding fathers that drafted the law were drunk and incapacitated?

      personally, i think a more useful imput would be to put in place a nationwide curfew of 9:00pm to 3:00 am. anybody, man or woman, walking or driving, who does not have a stamped police/army pass from the last roadblock they passed will be detained until 8:00 am at the next road block they reach. we are at peace so we have a full military that can be contracted/loaned to the police force.

      if we can afford k300 million for 4 prados for parliament then i’m very sure that we can afford armed roadblocks at every single entry and exit point on every main road in this country.

      these are solutions, not your silly debates. tikulephela kugona m’makwathu daily chifukwa chowopa kuti akuba abwera nthawi yanji kukatipha. TATOPA NDIKUFWAMBIDWA M’MAKOMO MWATHU MOMWE PLEASE!!!!!

  6. Weldon says:

    If the law is to be applied in a fair manner then its high time that witches and wizards have to be arrested too. kkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  7. Mbuya says:

    Convict Guta first

  8. Yokwiya says:

    Why force me to sleep. If I want to take a stroll at night, why shouldn’t I? I wish our towns were active until midnight. People should be able to do what they like at night. The police should only be there to check on crime. Those who commit crime should be the ones to be arrested. The police only target pedestrians. Whats so special about those who drive cars?This piece of law should really be abolished.

  9. Chisomo says:

    Removing this law can be disastrous to our own security. I believe the Law prohibits the movement of criminal s during odd hours. Of concern is how some law enforcers abuse it in order to make quick money. In Ndirande authorities should follow how it is being abused.

  10. i miss kamuzu banda and john tembo says:

    oh dear, chanco lawyers at it again. drunk and incapacitated???? so what do you charge a miscreant that’s roaming the streets at 3:00 am but is cleary sober? and doesn’t incapacitated mean ‘unable to move/function using ones own strength?’

    i’m no lawyer but if i’m sober and using my own energy to walk, how will you charge me with ‘drunk and incapacitated?’ i thought english was taught at chanco?

    i’d rather you focus your time on fixing the laws concerning section 65, the mining, corruption etc etc….

  11. Alungwana says:

    This law is a threat to the poor!

  12. Sake Chilling says:

    I have always wondered why this law exists I don’t remember there having been a CURFEW in Malawi.

  13. Yusuf Nzaliwa says:

    Good show a judge, tikumane pa club madzulo for for further discussions on this issue

  14. busy signal says:

    This bad law which was enacted by the colonists to ban poor people from visiting their areas called Ku mayard ought to be repealed as it hurts the poor who walk on foot at night after getting drunk and police just use it to punish them. Unfortunately Chakwera and his cronies are busy buying posh cars instead of doing real work here

  15. Nkhosa says:

    This law is merely used by police so that they are vagrants themselves as they steal from innocent victims when they are arresting them and rape ‘sex workers’. A law that penalizes only the poor kukawadela pamene those using vehicles are let scot-free any time. An archaic law meant to dicriminate against the have-nots. Whilst we need a review we require that this be speeded-up and in the mean-while police shud be encouraged to use it with caution otherwise people have a right to sue for unlawful arrest. Police use it to blow-up their frustration of being made to work at night

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