Malawians have faulted the government over plan to close Mbowe Filling Station car park in Lilongwe due to child sexual abuse cases.
Minister of Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, on Wednesday said the police should expedite the closure of the popular public drinking joint in Lilongwe City, where cases of drug and sexual abuse on young girls are reportedly on the rise.
According to the minister, child sexual abuse perpetrated by patrons happens in broad daylight at the car park.
She said: “I ask police officers and other security agencies to intervene in protecting our women facing different kind of abuses at Mbowe.
“We have learnt that at this place there are drug dealers christening themselves as ‘Baptists’. We cannot tolerate continuation of this disgusting development.
“Owing to this, we ask the law to take its course and bring to book all perpetrators involved. This place should be abandoned forthwith. People should only buy drinks or refill their cars but not use the park as a drinking joint.”
However, commenting on a Malawi24 Facebook post, commenters faulted the decision to shut down the joint arguing that it is the duty of police officers to arrest the culprits.
“The solution is not to close, but to establish a simple, credible and consistent law enforcement process to ensure there are no cases of drug and sexual abuse and exploitation. Malawi is a democracy. We must therefore ensure rights and freedoms are protected under bill of rights and fundamental freedoms. Crime or law breaking should not warrant closure of a business. Closure of a business place because crime will mean failure on part of government. Law enforcement is best solution. One party laws (Mob justice) shall no longer exist in a democracy,” said Madimbo Joseph
While Sylvester Banda: “As government it is your duty to bring to book those culprits, children are abused even in our schools and community are we expecting the closure of schools also because of abuses?”
Other commenters noted that similar action was also taken in the past where Kande Beach was closed but the drug abuse problem was not tackled.
Innocent Banda said: “Isn’t there any other option apart from closing? I remember the same Kaliati closing Kande Beach in Nkhatabay because of drag abuse; but what did the closure benefit? Boyz in Kande are still smoking and as tourism resumes, they will be selling Ganja to the whites like no body’s business.”
While Lister Manda said: “Last time when Kaliati was minister in DPP ‘s government she also ordered closer of Kande Beach over the same allegations… It took TA Fukamapiri to ask the president for the lodge to re-open because innocent souls were suffering.”