The Mangochi District Council has developed by-laws meant to promote enrolment, attendance and retention of children in school.
The pieces of legislation will also wee children being protected from child labour and child trafficking.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Monday, District Social Welfare Officer for Mangochi Macleod Mphande said the initial draft of the by-laws was referred to a lawyer for review to ensure they were in tandem with the laws of Malawi.
Mphande said Mangochi Town Council has accepted the final draft of the by-laws which were brought back to the council by the lawyer but requested for some amendments on the enforcement of the by – laws.
He said the initial draft showed that the village heads and village development committees will also take a major role in enforcing the by-laws but final copy has been silent on the same.
Mphande said laws and policies are always there to promote and protect children observing that incidents of child abuse and violence against children are committed because there was a problem of enforcement of the by-laws.
“Some of the duty bearers are not playing their roles and that the laws were not gazetted,” Mphande observed.
“We expect the duty bearers and community leaders to comply with the by-laws now that they have been gazetted because activities were previously implemented without having the by-laws and that could be the reason why they were not binding,” said Mphande.
Mphande said the by-laws are gazetted and clearly explain that they will not spare anyone who fails to comply with any conditions imposed by the council.
“Anyone violating the by-laws shall be committing an offence and shall be liable to a fine of K40,000 but if he or she continues with the offence, the person stands to face a six months jail term,” said Mphande.
On his part, Senior Chief Nankumba said he was concerned with the number of cases that come both to magistrate courts and traditional courts pertaining to the issues of school drop outs, defilement and child trafficking.
“We believe these by-laws will be effective because they are gazetted and the government through the lawyer has given approval of them and. As traditional leaders we will put more effort especially by spreading information on the promotion of child rights,” assured Nankumba.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA