The judiciary has urged persons with disabilities to respect the law as it is against the law in Malawi to gather alms on the streets.
The judiciary Public Relations Officer, Mlenga Mvula said in an interview following the case that happened on February 14, 2017 where Blantyre police arrested 12 people for gathering alms on the streets.
The suspects were taken to the Blantyre Magistrate court where the court dismissed the case considering the character of the accused persons and their health; which is that they were all persons with disabilities who regard begging and gathering of alms in the streets as their way of fending for themselves.
The court also considered the fact that as opposed to the young children popularly known as ‘Amasikini’ these accused persons rarely harass people or cause disorder as they are begging for such alms and it is only those compassionate people that will decide to help, otherwise one is free to go their way if they do not want to help.
“Persons with disabilities are by virtue of section 13 of the constitution of the republic of Malawi mentioned as a group of people that ought to benefit from the active promotion of their welfare and development by the state as this is a principle of national policy,” reads the court ruling in part.
However, Mvula said the suspects should not take the discharging of the case as a guarantee for them to go back on the streets but that they should observe and respect the law.
In an earlier interview, former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr. Mary Shaba, said even persons with disabilities seen begging on the streets should be arrested and face jail term.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, the law has to take its course and everyone has to respect it, respect ourselves and contribute to the development of Malawi,” said Shaba.
But Maliko Chitsamba and a woman only identified as Dorica from Ndirande and Mbayani respectively, who are some of Blantyre city beggars, do not see the real crime that they are committing by being on the streets.
“I was very shocked with the arrest of my friends we do not harass anyone, we cannot steal or do any work to help ourselves, we depend on well wishers who are willing to give us a little something here on the streets, though we are taken as dogs,” lamented Chitsamba.
He said if Government is to be serious about removing them from the streets, it should allocate some funds every month that can be dispersed among the beggars as they do with the chiefs in villages.
“We have heard what the Government is saying about us, but we are people who are physically challenged and if we stop begging what are we going to do.
“If the Government gave us some money to help ourselves it would be better because some of us are capable of doing business,” said Dorica.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :