Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) says 32 cases of violence against women in elections have been reported from the onset of the campaign period, with 15 of them reported between April 3 and 12.
According to data from a weekly Mesn update, most of the cases were reported in the Southern Region followed by the Central Region and few in the Northern Region.
The data is being compiled through the Gender Elections Engagement Room (Geer) which is being supported by UN Women and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with Mesn monitors observing such cases to be reported for action.
The update says between April 3 and 12, two cases of violence against women in elections were reported in Blantyre, four in Balaka, two in Nsanje, two in Chitipa, two in Zomba whereas Mangochi, Thyolo and Mwanza had one case each.
“A total of 15 incidences were reported in this period. Overall, since the campaign started, a total of 32 cases have been reported. Most cases have been in the Southern Region, followed by the Central Region and least cases in the North,” reads the report in part.
The report, which was released on Tuesday, states that the cases reported include physical, sexual, and psychological abuses.
The update also states that police have been critical in responding to reported cases and that several have been resolved following their intervention adding that follow ups are ongoing to ensure unresolved cases are dealt with accordingly.
However, the incidences, according to the report, have affected other categories of females and that cultural dynamics are also at fault as they are contributing to the incidences.
In January this year, scores of women from diverse backgrounds including civil society organisations staged a peaceful march in Lilongwe to denounce political violence against women and presented a petition to the city’s chief executive.
The petition contained specific demands to duty-bearers including President Peter Mutharika, Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose and Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Cecilia Chazama.
In the petition, the women argued that cases of violence against them undermines Mutharika’s status as HeForShe champion saying: “Having sworn to protect and uphold the Constitution, Mr President we want your visible, tangible action and protection of women in politics.”