Ministry of Local Government director of chiefs administration Charles Makanga has asked Nsanje District Council to expedite gender-based violence (GBV) cases to bring justice to the victims.
He made the call on Wednesday in Nsanje during a meeting with Nsanje Gender Technical Working Group to review the progress of the Spotlight Initiative in the district.
Said Makanga: “I am worried because government launched the initiative to fight GBV and part of its interventions is to facilitate the trial of GBV cases.
“So, our ministry and the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare will engage the Ministry of Justice to help expedite GBV cases in the country.”
He said government formed a national steering committee comprising officers from his ministry, Gender, Police and the Judiciary to identify areas to establish courts.
On his part, Nsanje district gender officer Edison Njembe said the district has a shortage of judicial officers.
“For instance, in Senior Chief Mlolo there is no court, but we thank non-governmental organisations implementing the Spotlight Initiative for facilitating mobile courts in the area to try GBV cases,” he said.
Speaking in a separate interview, second grade magistrate Linda Chiwanda, who is based at Bangula Court admitted that cases involving minors delay due to shortage of first grade magistrates who are vested with powers to preside over such cases.
She cited areas such as Sorgin, Makhanga, Muona-Fatima, Phokera, Tengani and Mbenje as in need of courts.
On his part, Nsanje senior resident magistrate Akya Mwanyongo said plans are underway to transfer some powers to lower-grade magistrates to preside over cases involving minors.
According to Nsanje district social welfare officer Chikumbutso Salifu, the district registered 43 GBV cases and 21 are being tried.
With funding from the European Union, government introduced the Spotlight Initiative to fight GBV in six districts, namely Nsanje, Machinga, Ntchisi, Dowa, Nkhata Bay and Mzimba.