The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has expressed concern over the rise in cases of mob Justice in the country.
Reacting to the increase in cases of mob justice, CCJP Acting national secretary Martin Chiphwanya said the upsurge in the malpractice is worrisome to a democratic country like Malawi.
He said people are not supposed to take laws into their hands.
“It is worrisome to note that people have resorted to mob justice whenever the alleged cases of theft, robbery and witchcraft are reported in communities while we have courts and police officers,” said Chiphwanya.
He urged laws enforcers and courts in Malawi to make sure they regain public trust since most Malawians resort to mob justice after seeing that the courts and the police can’t guarantee justice.
However, Mlenga Mvula, a spokesman for the judiciary told the media that it is wrong to blame the upsurge in mob justice on the courts.
“If any party is dissatisfied with judgement, they are even told ‘you are at liberty to appeal against this ruling.’ So they are given the procedures to appeal and the magistrate immediately writes those grounds and forwards them to the High Court. But none, if not few who come to say, ‘Ok I am appealing.'”
Mvula says most people engaged in mob justice are ignorant of Malawi’s laws.
He says his department is currently requesting funds to run a nationwide awareness campaign on how the judicial system works.
On his part, national police spokesman Nicholas Gondwa said police are also trying to educate people on how they could handle crime suspects.
“We are always on the ground doing community policing meetings,” he said. “We are sensitizing members of the general public on these things – mob justice – to at least prevent these things from happening. But people out there are deliberately giving us deaf ears, maybe to frustrate our effort.”
In three recent incidents of mob justice, 11 people have been killed and a courthouse has been burned.
The latest incident occurred on March 1 in Nsanje where a mob pounced on seven men accused of possessing human bones for witchcraft.