News / Africa

    Malawi President Vows to Wage War on Crime

    FILE - Malawi's President Peter Mutharika meets with reporters at the conclusion of the U.S.-Africa Summit at the Institute of Peace in Washington.
    FILE - Malawi's President Peter Mutharika meets with reporters at the conclusion of the U.S.-Africa Summit at the Institute of Peace in Washington.
    Lameck Masina

    Malawi President Peter Mutharika, who took office in May, is considering all options for cracking down on a recent surge in violent crime in the country.

    Police have reported several armed robberies, murders and car jackings, creating fear and panic among Malawians.

    A week ago, two women were seriously wounded after they were struck by stray bullets during gunfire between a robbery victim and the alleged robbers at Machinjiri Township in Blantyre.

    This came a few days a government ambulance was car-jacked in the eastern district of Balaka.

    A medical worker was also killed in Lilongwe, the capital, over the weekend.

    Deputy national police spokeswoman Mable Nsefula told VOA that in June, police registered 97 criminal cases. That number jumped to 105 in July, Nsefula said.  

    Increased police patrols

    However, after police patrols were increased, she said the number of cases fell to 88 in August.

    “The worrisome development is that the cases of murder are the ones that are on the increase,” Nsefula said.

    Malawi Police Inspector General Loti Dzonzi told local radio Zodiak Broadcasting Station that although an effort is being made to curb crime, a challenge remains in urban areas.  

    “There are some areas in the country where we can confidently say things are at appropriate levels. But there are areas of the country where we have challenges, and we need to jack up, more particularly in the urban areas,” Dzonzi said.

    He pointed out contributing factors to the rise in criminal activities in the urban areas.  

     “There is rapid rural-urban migration in this country. The number of the unemployed young people is also very high, with very few opportunities of employment or informal businesses. Our cities are one of the darkest in Africa at night,” Dzonzi said.

    'Shoot-to-kill' policy

    Some commentators said the crime rates seem to have risen after former President Joyce Banda's administration invalidated a "shoot-to-kill" policy in 2012, which allowed police to gun down suspects caught committing a crime.

    The policy was decried by human rights groups who said it violated the rights of suspects and the legal premise of innocent until proven guilty.

    Banda's predecessor, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika, introduced the policy in an attempt to lower crime rates, ignoring international condemnation of the policy by donor partners.

    But president Banda removed the policy four months after taking power, saying it contradicted Malawi's constitution, which provides basic rights to suspects.

    Reacting to the increased concerns about the rise in violence, Mutharika told a public rally in Blantyre over the weekend that his administration is waging war against crime.  

    He said organized gangs - he did not disclose which ones - want to destabilize his administration.  

     “Local media have been reporting that crime rate has increased in the country. I know what is behind all this because with me I have intelligence information [about people behind crime activities],” Mutharika said. “So I want to tell you that from now onwards there is a war against crime.”  

    In that effort, Mutharika said the government is giving police an additional 50 vehicles to increase patrols in and around the country’s main cities and towns.

    In the 2014-2015 national budget, currently under review in parliament, the government has more than doubled its allocation to the country’s law enforcement agencies, including local police, to help curb criminal activities.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora