Lilongwe Archdiocese of the Catholic Church says the country can enjoy continued stability if various efforts are made to promote justice and peace, especially in rural areas.
Archbishop Tarcizius Ziyaye was speaking on Thursday in Mchinji when the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) held an open day aimed at reaching out to the community under its Access to Primary Justice System programme running in five traditional areas (T/As) of the district.
Ziyaye said such programmes can empower vulnerable groups to access justice and encourage communities to solve minor disputes among themselves before seeking police or judicial intervention.
The programme, funded by Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID), seeks to equip local and traditional leaders to solve community conflicts by teaching them to keep records to maintain consistency and precedence so as to combat favouritism when delivering judgements.
“Primary justice seeks to reconcile people on their differences and it is showing inspiring outcomes because people who formally had disagreements have come together.
“This programme also trains chiefs to uphold justice when presiding over disagreements especially to vulnerable populations such as widows and orphans who face challenges to access justice because they have nothing to bribe local traditional leaders,” said Ziyaye.
In his remarks, Mchinji first grade magistrate Major Rodwell Phiri said the programme has helped reduce workload in the court as most cases are now resolved at community level.
Similarly, Traditional Authority Mavwere applauded CCJP for the programme, saying it has brought peace and reconciliation among fighting communities because leaders in the area have learnt to determine cases by law. n