Faith-based organisations have petitioned government to restart court sessions in Likoma District as the islanders have been struggling to access justice on the mainland.
In a communiqué read by the Reverend Nase Chunga of CCAP Livingstonia Synod, the clergy, coming together under Nzatose Project, asked government to deploy a magistrate to provide judicial services to Likoma and Chizumulu islanders every two weeks.
The petitioners described the fortnightly court circuits as a short-term measure, asking government to construct a courtroom and deploy a magistrate stationed in the island district.
Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) project officer Patience Banda Nyirenda decried that numerous criminal and civil cases are never taken to court because of lack of judicial services.
Presently, the islanders pay extra costs to access justice in the mainland district of Nkhata Bay due to the absence of a court house and magistrate on the islands.
“Imagine the nearest place where they can access justice is Nkhata Bay which is too far and only reachable using unreliable water transport. Most victims suffer in silence as those who commit crimes usually go scot-free as it is difficult and costly to take cases to the mainland,” he said.
The project has unearthed numerous gender-based violence and sexual abuse cases on the Lake Malawi islands.
Eliza Kamoza, who represented the youth, said most domestic violence and sexual abuse cases either go unreported or end up being settled out of court because they mostly involve relatives. n