Ntchisi district commissioner (DC) Malango Botomani has urged chiefs and their tribunals to desist from handling defilement cases in the district.
The DC said this on Monday at Traditional Authority(T/A) Nthondo’s headquarters during an orientation of chiefs and their tribunals to the Primary Justice Programme.
Botomani said although primary justice encouraged chiefs to settle disputes at village level, there were some cases that should be referred to police.
She said: “Not all cases are under your jurisdiction, major cases should be referred to higher authorities like police. No chief should settle defilement cases.”
The DC bemoaned the tendency by some women who shield husbands who abuse daughters in families.
She said: “Primary justice encourages women to open up and report abuse in families. No woman should shield her husband after sexually abusing girls in the families. We want such men to face the law.”
T/A Nthondo advised the chiefs to impose meaningful punishments when settling cases in their areas.
He said subjects should not be over burdened by the heavy fines chiefs impose, but should appreciate justice handled by their village tribunals.
Said Nthondo: “There is no way a chief can demand a cow as a fine in the village, at least chickens are manageable. Do not force your subjects to shun your tribunals due to heavy fines.”
Primary Justice is a programme which promotes justice at village level and is being carried out in six T/As in Ntchisi namely Chilooko, Chikho, Malenga, Vuso Jere, Kasakula and Nthondo. n