The Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare has said lenient punishments that perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV) get, fall-short of deterring would-be offenders.
Deputy Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Agnes Nkusa Nkhoma said this during a workshop for legislators on changing discriminatory social norms.
The meeting was organised by Concerned Youth Organisation (CYO) with support from the Commonwealth of Learning.
Nkusa Nkhoma said even the public has been observing and expressing displeasure at how the courts have been lenient on sentencing some serious GBV cases.
The workshop targeted Parliamentary Committee on Social and Welfare, Parliamentary Women’s Caucus and some parliamentarians from Mchinji District as a catchment area.
CYO board member Maynard Nyirenda said the workshop was organised to interrogate existing gaps and find solutions to end discrimination against vulnerable groups in society such as women and people with disabilities.
Said Nyirenda: “There are a lot of gaps in terms of policy, sometimes the policy is there but the implementation becomes a challenge.
“We have institutions that are mandated to ensure that the rights of the vulnerable are respected but you find that they lack resources and technical expertise.”
Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs Savel Kafwafwa admitted that discrimination exists in the country and some of it borders on access to land where in some areas women are not allowed to own land while in other communities, land is owned by women.
He said: “It is out of this that we should ensure that our social norms must not be discriminatory, if my brother can own land, my sister should also own the same.
“Of course, there are some gaps in our laws and we need to work on amending them accordingly.”
The workshop was aimed at increasing capacity of parliamentarians on changing discriminatory social norms for an effective oversight role on gender related laws and policies in Malawi.
CYO was established in September 2002 by concerned youths who realised the significance of youth in the development of their society in addressing problems they face