Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati has asked people in and around Traditional Authority M’bwatalika in Lilongwe to respect the dignity of women who were raped and abused by some members of the Malawi Police on October 9, 2019 at Nsundwe.

She made the remarks Wednesday when she paid a courtesy visit to T.A. M’bwatalika to engage traditional leaders on issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and how the chiefs can play a part in ending the malpractice.

She said one of the reasons that prompted her and her team, including Minister for Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, was to address verbal violence and discrimination which the victimised women are facing.

“We have been hearing stories of verbal abuse against these women; they are being ridiculed in several ways.

“They cannot even go to the market, and whenever they are seen in the public they are being laughed at.

“We came to tell the community that they have to respect these women as it was neither their fault nor intention to get violated in a manner they did,” she said.

Kaliati said it was unfortunate that the victimised women experienced that trauma.

“We want them to be free and enjoy their human rights including their right to dignity,” said the minister.

Kaliati, however, said the victims will be duly compensated as ordered by the courts.
The minister also took time to talk about early child marriages which she said were occurring in the area.

She said her office learnt with shock of a case of a 40-year-old man who married a 16- year- old girl in the area.

“We have asked them to dissolve the marriage otherwise the man is going to get arrested.

“We do not want to see girls going through that. We need to break the roots, educate the girl child because this will reduce cases of GBV and even property grabbing.

“An educated woman is empowered to make good life decisions,” she said.

The minister then asked chiefs to work hand in hand with government in ending GBV, saying they are implementers of government policy.

Member of Parliament for the area, Jean Sendeza, said she was hopeful the victimised women would fully be compensated saying the women have suffered greatly.

On GBV, early pregnancies and marriages, Sendeza said the vices have been fuelled by COVID-19 as children are spending more time at home.

However, she pledged to continue working with stakeholders to end the vices.

In his remarks, Mtambo said a divided nation cannot progress, and that people with unhealed wounds cannot move forward together. He said that was why they brought a message of healing to the victims.

“We know that our people here are still feeling pain, not only the women who suffered, but the whole society feels the pains.

“So we thought that we should come here to engage them and uplift their spirits and tell them that they are important.

“This is their country, this is a new government and we have to move forward together, we believe we can only prosper together if we move with one agenda,” he said.

Traditional Authority M’bwatalika said she would continue to provide an enabling environment and engage her subjects and stakeholders in the fight against GBV in her area.

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