Malawi Tourism Council (MTC) has asked the police to be selective when targeting night clubs to close during rogue and vagabond exercises because others have 24-hour operational licences.
This comes at a time police in Lilongwe have been arresting revellers in pubs, including the famous Centre Point which has a 24-hour licence issued by the Lilongwe City Council.
The move has not pleased MTC, which says this can affect local and international tourists and businesses.
MTC executive director Rosebill Sambo said police must work hand-in-hand with the department of tourism and councils for them to know which bars or clubs have 24-hour licences.
Said Sambo: “We commend police for tightening security, but it is not good for them to be targeting all the bars because some have 24-hour licences. Tourism is not just hotels, but even bars and night clubs.”
One of Centre Point managers Willie Kachepa said they fear they might go out of business because of the way the police invade the pub.
Lilongwe Police spokesperson Kingsley daula confirmed the sweeping exercise.
He said: “We periodically conduct sweeping exercises and yesterday [Tuesdaay] we had one. We did not target one place; we also went to Bwandilo and Chigwirizano. The reason we pick people and bring them to the station is to identify those who had plausible reasons to be out at night from those who had sinister motives,” said Dandaula.
The call comes at a time when several organisations, including a High Court judge, have asked the police to stop using vagrancy laws which were effected during the colonial era. n