Some people with disabilities on Monday staged a protest in the capital city Lilongwe when they went to Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare where they complained why government has banned street begging.
The complained that stopping members of the Asian business community from giving them alms has left them more destitute.
“Since the ban we have been sleeping most days with empty stomachs while you in power are busy feasting,” Mateyo Fabiano, leader of the group said.
The beggars asked government to consider start giving benefits package of K50, 000 monthly to disabled people and they will get out of the streets.
But Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati rejected the proposal, saying Malawi is not a welfare state.
Kaliati said street begging only degrades them as others insult the beggars.
The minister said government wants people who give alms to beggars to use “right protocol.”
Begging in Malawi is a criminal offence under Section 180 of the Penal Code. Thus anyone found wandering or placing themselves in a public place, seeking alms, causing, procuring or encouraging any child to do so, is termed an idle disorderly person and can be arrested and charged.
Government recently called for arrests of street beggars, street children, their parents or anyone who procures and encourages them to beg on the streets.
But Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said government’s directive is unsustainable, calling on government to address problems that compel beggars to be on the streets.
A survey conducted by the ministry and Chisomo Children’s Club in 2015, found that there are 4 400 street children on the country’s streets and only 400 of them are genuinely homeless.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :