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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More