Updated: Dec 8, 2021
Early November, this year, a 12-year-old boy was stoned to death by an angry mob in Chikwawa. The little boy happened to be the only one who managed to swim a shore when a boat he was in capsized. When he went back to the village, the people accused him of using magic to kill the people he was with. Just like that, an innocent little boy died painfully.
Starting from January until this month, there has been at least one case of mob justice in each of the months which resulted in the death of individuals. On some of these cases, Police are still investigating, some few individuals have been arrested and on some cases, not one perpetrator has been sentenced. There have been enough calls to action against mob justice now we want to see real action!
What kind of a Democratic country doesn’t get alarmed with the rise in deaths due to mob justice? It is high time we questioned what gives the perpetrators the confidence to stone or set someone on fire in broad day light without fear of any consequences.
One thing is very clear, the police are not doing their job and they are not being held accountable. Just like in the movies, the police are the last individuals to show up at crime scenes, mostly, they arrive in time just to carry the remains of the victim of mob justice. Most individuals who would want to report the crime as it is taking place act don’t know how to quickly get hold of the police .
A majority of Malawians wouldn’t know what to do if they were to witness people stoning or setting someone on fire because they don’t know how to quickly reach the police. This contributes to the delayed response of the Police to crime scenes, which in turn propels this despicable act of mob justice. The perpetrators are well aware that it would take forever for the police to show up or by the time the police show up, they(perpetrators) will already be done.
While we look at ways of addressing this barbaric behavior, we should consider erasing the word “Mob Justice” from our vocabulary because the word " justice "trips off the seriousness of the crime. The killing of someone for committing a crime before trial is a criminal act and not in any way a form of “justice”. A crime must be called by its name if it is to be addressed with seriousness.
Our laws and our law enforcers should be so stiff that not one individual would even think of touching a perpetrator even if the perpetrator is caught in the act of committing the most abominable crime. No one should feel shielded from facing the consequences of committing a crime just because the crime was committed by a group of people.
As we are working towards uprooting this problem from our democratic country, it is high time that everyone including the children become well aware of who and what numbers to call in times of crime, the realization that the police will show up any minute, is enough to scare off some people from committing crime.
In a case of an emergency demanding the assistance of the Police, please dial the toll-free number 0800 990 997, or the emergency toll free numbers 990 or 997 or the land-line of the nearest Police Station.