By Draxon Maloya

Communities under Group Village Headman (GVH) Chigwere in traditional Authority Mnyaluwanga in Nkhata-Bay district are reported to be hotpots for all forms of Gender Based Violence.

This transpired on Thursday during a day long meeting for organizations working under the Spotlight Initiative aimed at building capacity in areas of education, governance, human rights, gender based violence and the environment coordinated under Nkhata-bay Gender Technical Working Group.

During her presentation the Project Officer for the Organization for Social Economical Development Incentive, Takondwa Mwahave reported that on Tuesday this week her office has rescued a 13 year old girl (name withheld) from marriage with a 51 year old James Ntambo from Choma Village under Group Village Headman Kalonga in the district.

Takonda Mwahave OSSEDI

Mwahave said it is sad that there is still a wide knowledge-gap for people at various community levels in the district to know the importance of reporting GBV.

“There is still a wide knowledge-gap in our communities here in Nkhata-bay District and that is why perpetrators of such injustices go scot-free mainly if it involves a bread winner at a household or a senior personality in society,” Mwahave said.

The project officer further reported that some six girls in the age bracket of 13-17 who were also withdrawn from marriage have been sent back to schools after a vigorous two-week counselling session.

Another Organization, Purple Innovations which is implementing the ‘Wukani End Violence Again it Women Project’ which is a two year Project in Nkhata-bay and Mzimba Districts emphasized on the need to provide both software and hardware components in the implementation of GBV interventions if the battle is to won.

Purple Innovations’ Executive Director Patricia Mtungira highlighted in her presentation that unless women and girls are empowered to be self reliant on the socioeconomic front the fight to erradicate GBV still remains a far fetched dream.

Patricia Mtungira, Purple Innovations

Meanwhile at the same meeting, The Nkhata-bay District Director of Planning and Development (DPD) Isaac Mkandawire expressed sadness with some organizations which only introduced their projects earmarked for some hard to reach areas like Usisya but never stepped their feet on their proposed project implementation site.

“Indeed it is worrisome that some organizations came to the council and convince the District Executive Committee with their sugar coated projects earmarked for the hard to reach areas but never implemented any,” Mkandawire said.

Commenting on the issues of GBV and early child marriages in Nkhata-bay District, the Northern Region Police Headquarters Public Relations Office said the police is already on the ground to ensuring such cases are put to a complete halt.

Speaking in different interviews the region’s Deputy PRO, Maurice Chapola and her office colleague Cecilia Mfune took time to warn those continuing with the malpractice that the long arm of the law will soon catch them and be charged of felonies.

“The law prohibits canal knowledge of anyone below 16 years, that is contrary to section 138(1) of the penal code whose maximum sentence is life imprisonment, defilement is a felony whose cases cannot be tried by any primary justice forum and perpetrators can only be granted bail by a competent court of law,” Chapola emphasized.

Meanwhile, the police is advising members of the general public to immediately report such cases to and also discourage any motive aimed at frustrating those reporting GBV cases because doing so is regarded as a crime of conspiracy.