Malawi Police in Salima on Tuesday confirmed that three unknown suspected thieves have been torched to ashes after being caught stealing goats in the area of T/A Mwanza in the central region lakeshore district.
Police Spokesman Sergeant Gift Chitowe told Nyasa Times that the suspects on June 14, 2015, drove in the area with intention to steal while using Suzuki Swift Registration number BR 4738.
Chitowe said the suspects managed to slaughter 12 goats.
“When they were packing the goats the public descended on them and started beating them,. Later torched them down,” daid Chitowe.
Chitowe said their vehicle was damaged.
Frustrated with a spate of armed robberies and deep flaws in Malawi’s criminal justice system, vigilantes have decided to punish suspected criminals on their own volition.
Malawi has seen an increase in some types of crime in recent years.
Mike Nazombe, a social scientist at the University of Malawi, is on record saying Malawians may be resorting to mob justice because they mistrust the ability of the country’s law enforcement agencies to deal with criminals.
He said the prevailing mentality is, “let’s take the law into our hands, because those people who were empowered to do it are not able to do it”.
But national police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo said that this does not give citizens the right to interfere with the justice system.
Manjolo said mob justice is giving the police problems, because “mob justice destroys evidence and results in investigation deficiencies”.
The best way to prevent vigilante justice, Nazombe said, is for the state to improve law enforcement.
“Once people gain more trust in their law enforcement agencies like the police and the courts, they are less likely to undermine them with their own actions”.
In a country with just one lawyer for every 37,000 Malawians, the backlog of cases, coupled with funding constraints, means many criminals wait on bail for months or even years for their cases to be heard before a judge.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :