Jul 23, 2018 Last Updated 1:53 PM, Jul 20, 2018
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Cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) are said to be declining in some parts of Karonga district in Malawi.

The decline has been registered mainly in Lupembe in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kyungu where there are 20 community based organisations working with the Justice and Peace of the Karonga diocese of the Catholic Church.

Monitoring And Evaluation Officer at the Karonga diocese, Deodatus Muriya who is also assisting in the Primary Justice Project (PJP) disclosed that the decline in GBV in the district is due to the existing mutual relationship with the CBOs that help educate people in various communities on the dangers of the vice.

“Basing on the records we have from the district social welfare office, it shows that with this intervention, different forms of abuse done against each other in different places.

Be it in families or in work places have been tremendously reduced which is a clear indication that the CBOs are really helping us intensifying awareness campaign though I cannot immediately disclose the exact statistics on the degree of its decline,” explained Muriya.

In an earlier interview with Capital FM on the matter with the Karonga magistrates’ court, first grade magistrate Chakaka Nyirenda said the introduction of the Primary Justice project; the courts have been highly relieved of their tasks because all misdemeanor cases are heard at communal level by traditional courts such that the law courts are now concentrating much on felonies except when they fail to come up with a consensus. 

Similarly, the Karonga District Social Welfare Officer, Atupele Mwalweni had warned against the act arguing that it derails socio-economic and human developments in the communities since in most cases women are denied opportunities to take part in decision-making processes.

Mwalweni said, “Any gender related violence is a serious offence which attracts a stiffer penalty based on the statute of the republic of Malawi where in some cases the offender may be asked to pay millions of kwacha or in default serve a minimum of five years jail term.”

In his remarks, Karonga District Commissioner, Richard Hara advised community members to consider taking their minor grievances to traditional courts to access quick primary justice rather than resorting to go to the magistrates’ courts in order to save their time for development works.

Being an overseer of the district, Hara concurred with Nyirenda that indeed workload has been reduced in conventional courts in the district because most of the minor cases are now heard at communal level.

 However, one of the volunteers, Mercy Ndovie said they are trying their level best to combat the act by they are restricted by their local leaders who have negative attitude towards volunteers in various CBOs thereby disregarding the case record books for their reference when passing their verdicts.

Funded by the Department For International Development (DFID), Muriya added that the project is just a pilot phase which started on first December, 2017 is expected to complete in December 2018 with the aim of promoting peace and order in families and work places.

The magistrate court in Malawi's central region district of Ntcheu has released on bail a pastor accused of defilement. 

Philip Palibe Ndipo of New Covenant Assemblies of God appeared before court on Monday morning.

He is alleged to have defiled a 10 year old epileptic girl from Kalindira village last week.

Ndipo pleaded not guilty to the charge leveled against him and applied for bail in which the court set conditions before granted him.

First grade magistrate Crispin Sachuluka ordered the man of the cloth to produce two surities of MK75, 000 each of which he managed to do.

Meanwhile the case returns in court on October 12, 2017 for hearing, this is the day when the state will parade its witnesses to the case.

The 50 year old clergyman is answering a case of defilement which contravenes section 138 of the Penal Code.

A placard of what some deem as obscene has sparked debate in Malawi after its carrier was arrested by the Police on Thursday.

The Lilongwe based woman was part of a solidarity march meant to raise awareness on the escalating cases of Gender Based Violence. She was released hours later after getting bailed out.

However, though some are still condemning the law enforcers over how they reacted to the placard others are praising them for taking action at the right time.

Many people have taken to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp to share their point of views.

Capital FM posted the picture on its Facebook page asking whether her actions warrant an arrest and it has attracted hundreds of comments and reactions.

Margret Tendai Mwale wrote: We Malawians need to be schooled on the difference between respect & fear. What I'm seeing is that men want women to fear them & not respect them. I have seen no applaud for this cause at all but condemning the woman for standing up for her rights.  There's nothing wrong with that placard in my opinion as she refers to her own vagina. Women are raped by their boyfriends, husbands & others because the men feel women are their property & decide on when they want to have sex or not & that's why there raped, beaten & abused when they deny their partners sex.

Carolyn Caz Cranko Was brief: She has done a great job of making people sit up and take notice. Well done to her - message received!

And Brighton Break highlighted the legality of the message: Go and check in Malawi's penal code you'll find out that there is a crime, because the use of insulting language is a crime in Malawi. Now as you can see on the placard there are elements of the use of insulting language, which is a crime. The arrest is legal only that it's a misdemeanor.

Commenting on the matter Legal Commentator, Justin Dzonzi said the woman shouldn’t have been arrested as she was referring to herself on the poster and there is no law in the country which indicates such as a crime.

Increased cases of gender based violence are worrying the government of Malawi.

The statement was made by the Minister responsible for such issues, Jean Kalirani who has since called on the general public to help in eradicating such cases.

She said her Ministry is receiving reports of increasing cases of gender based violence with some of them bordering on barbaric killings.

Over the last couple of months, the country has witnessed some of the worst forms of gender based violence, according to the minister.

She cited cases of the young woman killed by her ex-boyfriend in Chilinde, Lilongwe.

And another woman in Mzuzu who was killed together with her child by her husband while another is a case of woman stabbed by her business client.

The minister, therefore, stated that government is working hand in hand with international organisations in order to address issues of gender based violence against women and children in the country.

The alarming statistics have pushed activists to call for a march hoping to raise awareness on the matter.

Slated for this Thursday in the capital city, the march is expected to have both men and women participating and they will all be dressed in black as they make their way to deliver a petition to the ministry of gender.

The future of about 50 Malawian girls in Mzimba district hangs in the balance following the imminent phasing out of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) project.

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