By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
Citizens of Mzuzu city and its surrounding areas on Saturday November 7 took to street to demonstrate and submit a petition to the ministry of gender through the office of the city council against the rising cases of defilements on young girls in Mzuzu and Malawi in general.
Led by the Association for Women Media(AWOME) the citizens of which many were ladies had placards displaying different messages on the malpractice which clearly indicated their anger, disappointment and disbelief on what some men are doing on young innocent girls. Wimilili wa mphala ya malango wikani malamuro ghakukhoma(Members of Parliament put strong laws), No mercy hung the rapists, Wakukolelera watheneke(Rapists must be castrated), You are our only hope Mr. President read some of the placards carried on the day during the march which started from Katoto school ground to the city council offices.
Talema, Tavuka sono chitanipo kanthu (We are tired now please take action), just where do we raise a girl child? were some strong touching messages displayed on the placards.
In an interview with this reporter, one of the organizers of the demos Angella Mkandawire said as women writers they saw it important to petition the ministry of gender having written and brought to light these malpractices for long to no success. She added that all what they want is for the authorities to take action which she said they think a strong law of death sentence or castration of perpetrators would be appropriate. Mkandawire said it is so touching to hear of men raping young girls as low as 2 years old only to be given lighter punishments of 14 years in jail. Mkandawire who at the time of interview did not hide her disappointment said if no action is taken they will push for their agenda in a different way which she did not disclose.
Receiving the 7 points petition on behalf of the ministry of gender, the mayor for Mzuzu city, councillor Gomezgani Nyasulu assured the petitioners that their concerns are equally those of many Malawians and that the e petition will be delivered to the relevant authority which is the Ministry of Gender, while also putting some bylaws within the council to deal with the vice.
President Lazarus Chakwera has also condemned the malpractice in its strongest term in his Saturday radio address he delivered from Mzuzu State Lodge, saying Mzuzu Central Hospital alone has registered 119 defilement cases since January this year which is probably the highest number of cases on record in this country so far. The president has since directed the line ministry to lead the taskforce in trying to deal with the practice.