The women and girls who organized a solidarity march against defilement and rape at Mponela Trading Centre in Dowa district, are demanding Government to give them powers to arrest the perpetrators whose numbers are growing an alarming rate in the district.
The women and girls say they are concerned with the way certain police officers are handling such cases when reported for action, claiming that some of the cases do not even make it to court and the suspects are released to the dismay of those who reported to police.
They added that they have suffered for far too long and the time has now come for them to take the law into their hands by arresting perpetrators and punishing them as a lesson to would–be offenders in the district.
Gender Based Violence is common in Dowa district as a day cannot pass without hearing that one has: defiled a young girl, raped women, committed suicide and been accused of practising witchcraft, a development which is of great concern to all; that the district is associated with bad news.
, Dowa District Chairperson, Mrs. Florence Chiotcha, for OBOL [Women Crossing the Line], one of the organizations that took part in the solidarity march, said that issues of GBV, particularly that of defilement and rape, cannot end in the district and the country as a whole if the powers of arresting the perpetrators rests in the hands of police alone.
Mrs. Chiotcha added that women and girls have lost trust and confidence with the police for it is very painful to learn that a perpetrator who was arrested three to four days ago has been released without being charged for the offence committed, saying this malpractice is encouraging the perpetrators to do more harm than before.
Chiotcha: We are tired of this bad news and want to take the law into our hands.
She asked the courts to give life imprisonment sentences to the perpetrators, for once that is done women and girls will clap hands that they have been accorded justice, feeling safe and secure in the society they are living in.
…”It is very sad to see one convicted for three, five or seven years, and we are not happy with these punishments, let them be jailed for life, we do not want to see them anymore,’’ emphasized Mrs. Chiotcha.
In her remarks, Dowa District Council’s Gender Development Officer, Zuwere-Rossi, expressed a concern that defilement and rape cases are on the increase in the district despite organizations working around the clock to civic educate the public on the issue.
Rossi called on all organizations implementing girl child education and GBV interventions in the district to work together in encouraging the communities to report such issues to them for actions even committed by village chiefs or their Indunas.
Meanwhile, a 33 year old man, Mabvuto Pofera, who has been on remand from August 2020 at Maula Prison, for defiling a 14 year old girl at Mkukula Village in the area of Inkosi Mkukula in Dowa district, was on 11th November 2020, set free and is issuing threats to the people that reported him to police.
By Vincent Gunde