MACHINGA: The fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Machinga can only be won if perpetrators are stopped from fleeing to South Africa.
District Coordinator for Machinga Community Policing Support, Inspector Naison Chibondo, said Machinga District was failing to prosecute offenders of GBV as most of them flee to South Africa.
He said this on Monday at a review meeting organized by Emmanuel International to discuss opportunities and challenges of child protection in the district.
The problem is with the community themselves. Instead of rushing to report to police they start discussing among themselves and this gives time to offenders flee to South Africa, he explained.
He therefore asked villagers, especially relatives of the victims of gender based violence, to quickly alert authorities on GBV cases.
Chibondo further urged chiefs against facilitating marriages that involve under aged people saying the law only allows people above 18 years to get married.
He however observed that some chiefs are corrupt and selfish in that they allow under aged people to get married so long they have been given something.
The relationship between greedy chiefs and child protection workers is sour simply because child protection workers are stopping under aged marriage, he said.
He said soon Machinga police and district social welfare office will organize sensitization meetings with chiefs and religious leaders on gender related laws and their role in child protection.
He particularly said: religious leaders are better placed to stop child marriage. They are the ones who bless the weddings and they can stop under aged marriage from taking place.
Emmanuel International’s Program Coordinator for Child Protection, Cholinga Mailosi said child protection issues are very complex such that they need concerted efforts for different stakeholders.
He said there are some cultural practices that fuels child abuse in the communities.
Unless we start speaking out our problems, issues of child abuse, defilement, rape and early marriages will remain a challenge, he said.
He said through Integrated Child Protection Livelihood and Skills Development Project some communities are positively changing their altitude towards child protection.
Malawi enacted a Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act 2015 which bars people below the age of 18 year from getting married.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA