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Minister caution perpetrators of GBV against women, children

By Leonard Masauli

Lilongwe, April 12, Mana: Minister of Gender Community Development and Social Welfare, Jean Sendeza has cautioned perpetrators of Gender Based Violence (GBV) that the laws will not spare anyone found abusing women and children in the country.

The Minister made the remarks during a press briefing in Lilongwe on the sidelines of cases where a mob burnt hands of two girls aged 9 and 10 on allegation that they stole Maize at Matthias Village in Traditional Authority Mloro in Nsanje district, and a woman who was paraded naked in the streets in Kasungu.

The Minister said such acts against children and women are inhumane and cannot be entertained in the country and thanked the Malawi Police for acting so swiftly to arrest the perpetrators.

Sendeza said she is however saddened by the outcome of the court sentence regarding the two girls in Nsanje district, where the perpetrator has been fined K200,000 for the offence.

“Personally, as a Minister I am not satisfied with the sentence where the suspect has been fined K200,000. I feel it is not enough. As a ministry we are looking at the issue and the process and we might appeal.

“Let me plead with the courts to consider giving stiffer penalties to Gender Based Violence perpetrators to deter other offenders. Furthermore, I would like to condemn an incident that occurred in Kasungu where a woman was paraded naked after being accused of snatching someone’s husband,” said Sendeza.

She said such behavior is an insult to a modesty of a woman and cannot be condoned and blamed some women who are always in the forefront victimising fellow women instead of fighting their protection.

The Minister further asked Malawians willing to adopt children who were affected by cyclone to do so but following proper processes.

“The Ministry has noted several posts of children in social media calling for adoption. But I would like to make it clear that there are laws that guides such adoption process. We do not want that the children should suffer once they are adopted because they will be alone wherever they will stay,” said the Minister.

Chairperson for NGO Coalition on Child Rights in Malawi, Desmond Mhango echoed the sentiments by the Minister saying government should move in to ensure the perpetrators of children in Nsanje as well as those who stripped a woman and paraded her naked should be given stiffer penalties to deter other offenders.

“We look at the punishment as being too lenient and there must be a way to review the sentence and consider better punishment as the law is meant to deter the would-be offenders.

“Again, it is not our culture to parade a naked woman in the community to bring shame. We ask law enforcers to look at such cases and that justice is delivered,” said Mhango

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