Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod has asked government to take bold and swift steps to eradicate harmful cultural practices in the country.
Blantyre Synod general secretary the Reverend Alex maulanana said this on Wednesday during the opening of the 2016 Women Bi-annual Conference in Blantyre whose theme was How a Christian Woman Can Preserve Her Family derived from 1 Corinthians 13:13.
“While we commend government for the bold and swift intervention on the issue of [Eric] Aniva, who was arrested in Nsanje, we feel the battle should go beyond just his arrest. Even those that demand such services as kulowa kufa, fisi, chokolo, kusasa fumbi must also be punished.
“Government should also enforce all by-laws that aim at protecting girls and women. Otherwise, [if we don’t protect them] efforts to preserve our families will not be complete,” he said.
Maulana also said reports of harmful practices such as fisi are of great concern to the synod which is implementing a project to keep girls in school with funding from UKAid and Save the Children.
“The project aims at achieving gender parity through increasing community support for girls to stay in school, empowering female teachers as role models and reducing violence against girls,” he said.
In her remarks, Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia said plans are underway to visit and sensitise people in Nsanje to harmful cultural practices still existing in the district.
She urged the women to be exemplary in their conduct as they discharge their duties.
“Women play a crucial role both in the church, in their families and in the development of the country as they persevere various challenges affecting their daily lives.
“We hope this conference will address the many challenges women face as they strive to preserve their families,” said Chiumia.
Chiumia then asked the Blantyre Synod to consider organising similar conferences for men in the synod because the family consists of a man and a woman.
Aniva was arrested last month following a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report that he had been sleeping with young girls in Nsanje in a traditional cleansing ritual called fisi.
He is currently in court answering a charge of indulging in prohibited harmful acts contrary to Section 5 of the Gender Act. n