By Martin Chiwanda & Haneeph Maulana:
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Nkusankhoma, has called for collaborative efforts amongst chiefs, civil societies and human rights bodies in Machinga District to fight Gender Based Violence.
Nkusankhoma made the call Tuesday during the district’s commemoration of this year’s 16 Days of Activism at Chikala Primary School in Traditional Authority Chamba in the district where she was guest of honour.
The deputy minister’s call follows a report presented by Eastern Region Police which indicated that between January and November, this year (2021), the district had recorded over 116 sexual offences to which children aged between 10 and 13 were victims.
“As a country, we have to be worried that if these are the cases that have been reported, what about those unreported?
“To this effect, let me call upon the police, the judiciary and all human rights activists to fight all forms of gender based violence as they are counterproductive to development,” said Nkusankhoma.
Commenting on the matter, Eastern Region Commissioner of Police, Happy Mkandawire said police have lined up a number of activities to raise awareness and enforce the laws as a way of ending gender based violence in the region.
“There might be two schools of thought: it’s either the cases are on the rise as people are aware of cases of GBVs and are reporting to the police or there are quite a number of incidences happening around communities and we need to apply more effort,” he said.
Mkandawire, therefore, asked victims or survivors of any form of gender based violence to report and expose perpetuators of the vice to authorities.
In her speech, Machinga District Commissioner, Rosemary Nawasha, said they decided to launch 16 Days of Activism in Traditional Authority Chamba because the area does not report cases of gender based violence despite prevalence of the vice in the area.
“Even beyond 16 days, the district is ready to keep on checking what is happening with our girls in their communities.
“Let me urge district stakeholders, including village structures, to take a leading role to ensure that the district is free from gender based violence,” said Nawasha.
Machinga District joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence under the theme ‘Orange Malawi: End violence against women and girls, act now’.