Mulanje Police Station prosecutor Davison Banda has commended Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Primary Justice Project, saying it has reduced backlog of cases both at police and the courts.
Speaking during an exit meeting for the five-year project which ends this month, Banda said many people in the district now take their grievances to local leaders through village tribunals before seeking police or court intervention.
“Before the project, we used to have so much work as every misunderstanding ended up being reported to police and eventually forwarded to the court. But now, people are reporting their grievances to police as a last option with nine out of 10 reported cases being resolved in village tribunals,” he said.
He said this has also necessitated speed in case handling by the police and the courts in the district.
Senior Chief Mabuka of Mulanje distrcit said the presence of community-based educators (CBEs) in all six traditional authorities in the district has helped people, particularly women and children, to be free to report human rights abuses.
“People are no longer silent when it comes to human rights abuses. In the past, there were incidents where family members would shield a suspect for example in cases of defilement, but with CBEs everywhere in our communities, such cases are easily reported and investigated at local level which is also making police work easier,” he said.
Mulanje District Council director of planning and development Humphreys Gondwe said the council will take over monitoring and supervision of the project to ensure the vulnerable access primary justice.
The project, which has been implemented in 28 districts [in Malawi] since 2012, was being funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID). n