BREAKING: Rogue and vagabond law declared unconstitutional in Malawi

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The High Court in Blantyre has declared the rogue and vagabond law unconstitutional, meaning that people will not be arrested for walking at night.

The development follows a challenge on the constitutionality of rogue and vagabond by vendor Mayeso Gwanda.

In their ruling, Judges Sylvester Kalembera, Michael Mtambo, and Zione Ntaba said section 184 subsection 1C has been declared unconstitutional arguing that it reflected discrimination in the country.

In his conclusion for the ruling, Judge Kalembera argued that the applicant was arrested without a warrant and the police had no suspicion on criminal activity.

malawi-high-courtOn her part, Judge Ntaba suggested for the review of the law arguing that the legislation helped in reducing crime in Malawi.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi24, lawyer for the applicant Mandala Mambulasa said the declaration does not mean that the public is free to break the law.

“The court went on that urging the public they should not interpret that they are free to do crime as the police have other measures in handling crime,” said Mambulasa.

The vendor Gwanda challenged the constitutionality of the law after he was arrested in March 2015 while walking in Limbe.

State prosecutors then told the court that Gwanda violated section 184 of the penal code which provides that “every person found in or upon or near any premises of in any road or highway or any place adjacent thereto or in any public place at such time and under such circumstances as to lead to the conclusion that such person is there for an illegal or disorderly purpose, is deemed a rogue and vagabond.”

However, the applicant argued that rogue and vagabond violates human rights, including his right to dignity and privacy, freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment, freedom and security of person, freedom from discrimination, and freedom of movement.

The Legal Aid Bureau, Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), and Paralegal Advisory Services Institute (PASI) joined the case as amicus curiae. PASI submitted that the offence violates the right of access to justice and the rights of arrested persons.

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70 Comments

  1. Kwa amene sanaberedwepo ndi a police kapena kumenyedwa chifukwa waweruka kuganyu akudandaula ndikuthesedwa kwa lamulo lozuza munthu osaukali…

    Kuyenda wapansi ndi tchimo kodi??? Nanga wagalimo samamugwira bwanji pamene nayenso ndioyenda usiku….

    Kunena chilungamo osauka ndiamene amava kuwawa ndi lamulo loipali

    big up to our HIGH COURT for their consideration on poor people…

  2. Munthu aziyenda ndi chiphaso,ka
    ya ndi driver,civil servant,kaya a bizimisi kuti aziziwika kumene akuchokela usiku,osamangokhomelela zidakwa iyayi

  3. Police patrols wu still b on. But they wu never arrest anyone jux for walking at…. azikumanga akakuona ukuopanga zodabwitsa basi…
    Mbava sizinagwidwepo ndi a vacabu, amanyemerana. Vacabu inasanduka chida chopezera ndalama kwa zidakwa

  4. mbava zonse manja mmwamba tiphe makwacha! But y? Despite harassing poor people our police officers were doing a comendable job in minmising robery m’makuka mwathumu, pompano ife tomwe tiymbaponso kulira! Sorry for my poor country!

    • Man lamulolitu mu constitution mulibe a judge atero and akut ndi lamulo lomwe anakhazikisa ndi asamunda pofuna kuzuza black people, nde ndichifukwa chake amatikwapula even akuziwa kut siwe okuba, munthu akavia mu field aziopa kugona ma rest house kuopa kut agwidwa vacab aaaaah nde ufulu ulipati, and sananene kut a police samaenda ayi, patrol izikhalapo koma asamamange munthu just bcoz akuenda usiku, lamulolinso anaonjezera kunena kut ndilokomera anthu olemera coz a police amalimbana ndimunthu yemwe akuenda wapansi osat wagalimoto pamene osewo ndioenda usiku kkkk

      ine ndusangalala aaaaah a police athu kuba kwambili wow

  5. Mukunamatu inu, taendani tione ngati sakugwirani…Nkhani ya police bail bwa? Mumati police bail ndi yaulere koma akakugwilani mumatuluka ulere?

  6. TRUETH OF MATTER:
    The high court in Blantyre has declared ( just a section of Rogues and Vagabonds law in the penal code) Rogue and Vagabond have five sections and only section 184 sub sec 1(e) is now invalid.
    DEFINITION:
    Sec (a) Every person going about as a gather or collector of alms or endeavouring to procure charitable contributions of any nature or kind under. fraudulent pretence -STILL VALID
    (b) every suspected person or reputable thief who has no visible means of substance and cannot give a good account of himself- STILL VALID
    (c) every person found in or near any premises or in road or highway or any place adjacent thereto or in any public place at such time and such circumstances as to lead to the conclusion that such personalities is there for illegal or disorderly purpose- THIS SECTION IS NOW INVALID (police can not arrest you for this)
    (d) every person who without the prior consent in writing in that behalf of the DC collects or make any appeal for subscription of money in any public place for any purpose – STILL VALID
    (e)every person who collected money by subscription in any place in Malawi who fails to produce to a DC or to publish in a newspaper named of the disposal thereof when called upon so to do by such DC
    Shall be deemed to be a argue and vagabond and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be liable for the first offence to imprisonment for six months and for every subsequent offence to imprisonment for eighteen months
    So laws on rogue and vagabonds still exist BUT only section (c) above has been removed( invalidated)
    Police still will arrest people under law of rogue and vagabond except section (c)
    Passed today 10/01/2016
    High Court of Malawi
    Blantyre

  7. Kwa amene Sanaonepo zokhoma ndipo sanabeledwepo asangalala ndikusamangidwa poyenda usiku, koma nkhani yapa ndiyakuti chitetezo chatha, chifukwa sionse amene amaenda usiku Ali achilungamo ndipo apa mwapatsa mwatsa mpata mbava ndipo anthu aluza miyoyo coz mbava zilibe nthawi yochita mantha ndi a police, Zandikhudza ndipo zandikwiitsa kwambiri kulipo kuphedwa anthu osalakwa. nde muzalandile chipongwe nkumafuna wa police usiku muzandiuza

    • Police patrols wu still b on. But they wu never arrest anyone jux for walking at…. azikumanga akakuona ukuopanga zodabwitsa basi…
      Mbava sizinagwidwepo ndi a vacabu, amanyemerana. Vacabu inasanduka chida chopezera ndalama kwa zidakwa

  8. That’s good …. honourable thieves are moving freely and you police are busy arresting someone who is coming from the ganyu late at least to have something to provide for his or her poor family.

  9. There are two things involved if the two ; police & the one moving at night meet what will happen? Ana amasikini mutani nawo poti ndi omwe akusausa m’mizindamu but when the police meet the rich people they just give heavy salute bwana dusaniiiii zopusa

  10. I welcome the outcome of the brutal actions from our police officers
    Imagine kugwiira tanthu ali mminibbus around 7 pm
    Ana azimai mkati kukawatsekera
    Akuti ukafuna uzipulumutse wekha
    Uhonge
    Heartless police officers

    Leaving mbava kumaba uko

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