GENDER and Child Development Minister, Inonge Wina has said the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has the political will to implement the Anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) Act and to ensure that all cases of crimes against women are dealt with.
Ms Wina, who was speaking yesterday when she addressed women protesting against the recent murder of two women in Lusaka, assured the nation that the Government had empowered all stakeholders involved in to bring the perpetrators to book. The women led by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) grouped themselves outside Lusaka High Court premises while singing sorrowful music in remembrance of women that died as a result of GBV-related cases.
They have since called for establishment of a fast track court to handle cases of GBV as the current system took long to conclude cases. "I can assure you that my ministry and my Government are committed to the fight against gender-based crimes. This can actually be seen through the political will of appointing so many women in key positions.
"It starts from there and later trickles down. I urge the women in such positions to work hard and help reduce the increasing cases of Gender-Based Violence," she said. And delivering a petition to the minister, YWCA national president, Lucy Lungu said the civil society was agitated by the unprecedented cases of grisly murders of women in the country.
She said the civil society had noted with sadness that ever since the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act was enacted, cases of gender-based violence had increased. "Women and children need to be protected as it has become evident that Zambia is no longer a safe haven for women and children going by the escalating numbers of GBV cases being recorded such as brutal killings, physical abuse and defilements," she said.
Ms Lungu said her organisation had recorded 3,882 cases of gender-based violence countrywide in a period of six months from January to June this year.
And Beatrice Grillo, chairperson of the Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Committee, said cases of GBV should be non-bailable and given the same prominence accorded to theft of motor vehicles.
Ms Grillo said the silence from men, including those in key positions, was shocking looking at the increased number of women and children being raped and killed.
The women also made other demands such as strengthening the Victim Support Unit in terms of resources, equipment, and transport to enable it effectively carry out duties.