Malawi govt to start giving ‘benefits’ to beggars: U-turn on plans to arrest

Government has made a dramatic u-turn on street beggars, saying they will not be forced off streets but they will be financed to start businesses instead.

Holding a vigil
Beggers to start receiving financial help from Maawi government

This comes months after the radical combative crusader of the exercise, Patricia kaliati, was moved from the Gender, Disability and Social Services ministry to become Information Minister.

Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare called for arrests of street beggars when Kaliati was its minister.

But  the Malawi Law Society (MLS) had cautioned that government’s directive to arrest beggars, street children, their parents or anyone who procures and encourages them to beg on the streets is unsustainable.

Government is now strategising on how best to empower the street beggars economically after leaving the streets.

“It would be unfair to move them off the streets whithout giving them another source of living,” said Bendazi.

She said the ministry was setting up a Fund that will have enough money to lure the beggars out of the streets.

“Before we give them the money,we will train them on how best to run their businesses to ensure the businesses don’t fold up because of financial mismanagement.”

She could not say exactly when this would happen.

The new change of tune comes after Jean Kalirani, soft spoken, calm, collective analytical and thinker is now minister for the ministry replacing Kaliati, whom many say she is combative, talkative and not so intelligent cabinet minister.

The new government policy is likely to excite the street beggars. It is illegal to give alms to street beggars in Malawi and begging is  a criminal offence under Section 180 of the Penal Code. Thus anyone found wandering or placing themselves in public place, seeking alms, causing, procuring or encouraging any child to do so, is termed an idle and disorderly person and can be arrested and charged.

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.

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5 years ago

We have to give people hope for a better life. We have to give them an alternative to begging on the streets. In my opinion, arresting them would have been an unpractical solution for various reasons. For starters, if you are genuinely begging because you have no food to eat, no amount of criminal charges will deter you from doing it again once you are released. It’s basic survival instinct. People should be given viable options before such extreme measures are taken. The change is a welcome one – a step in the right direction. But do not think for… Read more »

5 years ago

Funny thing about these beggars most of them are our brothers and sisters from lower shire. is it to do with culture or other challenges?

Kauzyanga Chibaki
5 years ago

The way to go should be identifying the real impoverished people in our villages, train them there and give them a start up business capital so that they can run small scale businesses. The beggars in the street will be forced by themselves to go back to their respective villages to do the same business. Don’t ever try to give the street beggars money whilst they are in town because you will attract many to come and it will be difficult for you to remove them because they will keep on coming to receive. Take my advice pleaser

Lombwe Nkulu
Lombwe Nkulu
5 years ago

What a waste!!!.The beggars will eventually misuse the money and go back to streets. Trust me.

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