Women Action Group (WAG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has expressed concern over chiefs’ negligence in enforcing by-laws against gender-based violence (GBV) in Ntcheu.
WAG chairperson in Traditional Authority Champiti Lonely Mnthambala made the remarks on Saturday during the commemoration of International Women’s Day at Gwauya Primary School in the area.
She alleged that some chiefs were handling GBV cases lightly, which she said is a setback in the fight against GBV as it demoralised some women from reporting GBV cases to chiefs.
“We have noted with concern that some chiefs are not showing commitment in dealing with GBV cases despite being the agents of change,” Mnthambala said.
Ntcheu district gender officer Phalles Chizule echoed Mnthambala’s sentiments, saying some chiefs are enforcing some cultural beliefs that violate women’s rights.
She urged chiefs to be in the forefront in dealing with GBV cases.
Dedza Diocese Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace programmes manager Horace Kasudze said there is need for collaboration efforts among stakeholders to deal with the vice.
She said: “It is sad to note that young girls are the worst victims of abuse as the district has registered high numbers of defilement cases within three months.”
Kasudze said they have put in place measures aimed at dealing with the vice such as introduction of courts in local areas and training paralegal advisers at local level to follow up GBV cases.
Chief Champiti urged fellow traditional leaders in his area to enforce the by-laws put in place to end the malpractice.
“I warn traditional leaders who will not enforce the by-laws that they will be punished,” he said.