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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :