A total of 82 firearms were handed over to the Malawi Police Service in September, The Daily Times has learned.
The firearms were either being held by people who have no licences or their owners died.
The African Union set aside the month of September as amnesty month, giving people a chance to hand over firearms that are not linked to criminal issues.
Malawi Police Service spokesperson Peter Kalaya described activities conducted in the month as successful.
“Out of these firearms, 80 are antic fire muzzle loaders used by hunters while two are shotguns whose owners died but they were being kept by unlicenced people. They are also used for hunting as well as for security purposes in homes,” he said.
Kalaya said, for them to assure people that it is safe to hand over unlicenced guns, they conducted awareness campaigns.
“We, as police, are happy that people took heed of our messages and brought these firearms to us. Those that want to change ownership of the firearms can contact the Malawi Police Service for us to facilitate the process.
“In fact, people are still allowed to surrender their guns to police at any time when the owner dies. They do not always have to wait for September,” he said.
Meanwhile, People’s Federation for National Peace and Development (Pefenap) has commended the police for opening up on firearms issues and encouraging people who do not have licences to hand them over to law enforcers.
“This is a very good development, more so because, in Malawi, it is not easy to collect firearms,” Edward Chaka said.
He said his organisation, with technical support from Humanium Metals through IANSA, also engaged the police and sensitised community members through awareness campaigns.
Chaka said the AU Amnesty Month coincided with International Day of Peace celebrations, when people reflected on efforts being made to promote peace on September 21.
“The day falls within the period the citizenry strives to create a firearms-free society. It was a double celebration, observing the day in line with the creation of peace through a gun-free environment and society,” he said.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.