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Malawi court rules ‘rogue and vagabond’ offence unconstitutional: Malawi police to respect ruling but to use section 184 (1)(b) instead

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) -The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has clearly said will respect and comply with the High Court judgment invalidating section 184(1) (c) of the Penal Code and will use other subsections of the said section 184 instead for offenders.

MPS: to use section 184 instead

The police have however expressed worries about the implication of the court’s decision on law enforcement and the provision of safety and security to the citizens of Malawi.
The national security service has hinted that the offence of being a rogue and vagabond has not been totally abolished arguing that sub sections under section 184 of the Penal Code which police officers may still use if circumstances so require.
In a press statement released on Thursday signed by MPS’ national spokesperson, James Kadadzera and made available to The Maravi Post, men in uniform say will embrace and respect the court ruling on the matter.
Kadadzera disclosed that the service will continue arresting people as rogues and vagabonds based on the other provisions within the same law.
The national police publicist added that those found loitering or walking and fail to account for their movements will be subjected to section 184 (1) (b) that gives powers to arrest every suspected person or reputable thief who has no visible means of subsistence.
“Members of the public are therefore informed that the Malawi Police Service welcomes the decision of the High Court and will fully embrace and respect it. As a law enforcement institution, the Malawi Police Service cannot enforce a law that has been declared invalid by a court of law”, said Kadadzera.
He added: “Likewise, there are other provisions in the law that police officers have been using and will continue to use to ensure that the safety and security of all citizens is protected. Members of the general public are thus assured that the court’s decision will not negatively impact on the safety and security of the citizens.”
On Tuesday this week, the three high level sitting judges; Zione Ntaba, Michael Mtambo and Sylvester Kalembera ruled that application and enforcement of section 184(1) (C) of the Penal Code be invalid arguing that it was infringing people’s right to movement.

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