Lilongwe, Youths in the country have been advised to report anyone to relevant authorities whenever they are coerced to take part in harmful cultural practices.
Chadza Youth Network chairperson Enock Karonga on Thursday told a Youth Parliament held at Chadza in Lilongwe that the youth have the right to say ‘no’ to cultural practices that can affect their wellbeing.
No one is allowed to force the youth into engaging in cultural practices that can affect their lives negatively, not even parents. Report them to the police if they do that, he said.
Karonga, however, bemoaned some customary laws which, he said, are used to shield perpetrators of the harmful cultural practices that are backed by the same laws.
People strongly still believe in customary laws; as such, it is hard for the authorities to intervene, he said.
Youth Parliament is a platform set to help the youth voice out their views on matters affecting them.
SOS Children’s Village organised the parliamentary session at Chadza where cultural practices such as chokolo and fisi were widely discussed as some harmful cultural practices.
In an interview, Senior Group Village Head Mlombwa expressed sadness that customary laws are lenient towards perpetrators of harmful practices.
As much as customary laws are important in Malawi, they are to blame in the fight against harmful cultural practices.
For instance, traditional leaders can pressure someone into dropping charges at the police so that customary laws should be used, she said.
Mlombwa said traditional leaders have a duty to ensure that youths in their areas are protected from the harmful cultural practices.
Apart from cultural issues, the Youth Parliament also discussed education, environment, business and health matters.
Source: MANA Online