November 20 is World Children’s Day. In Malawi, President Lazarus Chakwera took time to celebrate the day with the children and also took time to listen and answer some questions from the children who graced the occasion.
In Malawi, this year, the day was a day of gloom. The day was celebrated at the back of rising cases of rape and defilement. Almost every day, the country is waking up to stories of a girl child who has been defiled. Children, especially girls, are under attack.
They are being defiled and raped by their fathers, uncles, brothers, their church pastors among many others.
Women movement groups have marched and presented their concerns to authorities in the hope that the authorities will act on their concerns. Messages against the vice continue to be shared but there is also feeling that things are moving at a desired pace. Authorities are taking time to act on the vice.
I am glad that the President is now taking these issues head-on, at least from the public speeches he has delivered so far. However, one can only hope that it is not just lip-service, but these condemnations must be backed by deeds. It would be great to see the same firmness in the President’s speeches being translated into policies and laws that, for instance, ban witchdoctors.
There are many cases where a child is defiled on instructions from some witchdoctor. Witchdoctors continue to be a menace in our society. Wouldn’t it be prudent then to ban witchdoctors? What purpose do they serve apart from bringing confusion? This country does not need soothsayers, it needs people who use their brains to solve problems. Nobody gets rich by defiling a child or raping a woman. Such primitive practices should not be allowed to thrive in this country.
It is quite reassuring that the President is also giving children a platform to air their views. Mr. President, the ball is in your court. You have the political power and you can easily influence policies that protect children and ensure a bright future for them.
Malawians are growing tired of hearing stories of babies, girls and women being raped every day. Malawians are looking for concrete action more than mere speeches.