19 February 2018

Malawi: Blantyre Council Takes Primary Justice to Communities

Blantyre — Blantyre District Council has intensified primary justice awareness campaign with the aim of reducing crimes that are committed out of ignorance.

Southern Regional Coordinator for primary justice Dalitso Mipando said Malawi and Blantyre district in particular continue to register high rates of gender-based violence especially against women and girls.

Mipando said as a result of this, his office with support from Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has decided to carry out primary justice sensitization meetings in an effort to eliminate these practices.

"Under the primary justice programme, we are targeting rural communities where many people suffer in silence.

"We informing people about several forms of violence and encouraging them to visit rightful centres where they can lodge their complaints or seek redress," Mipando said adding that the meetings also tackle issues of child abuse, property grabbing especially for the deceased families and land disputes."

Apart from raising the bar about violence against women and girls, the programme also looks into the issue of capacity building by among others, training tribunal courts on how they can handle cases and fair delivery of justice.

To ensure that a wide range of issues are tackled during the campaign, Mipando said they are involving different players such as the the lands office, deceased estates, National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) trust, social welfare, the police victim support unit and community police.

In Blantyre, the programme started in December 2017 and is being implemented in six Traditional Authorities (TAs) of Kunthembwe, Kuntaja, Lundu, Kapeni Machinjiri and Somba.

Group Village Headman (GVH) Majora of TA Kunthwembwe has since commended the programme and the campaigns saying many people would now be careful with how they handle themselves having known different forms of violence's.

"There are many cases of such violence in our communities but people choose to be silent because they don't know what constitutes a crime.

"It our hope that today and onwards, people will watch their acts carefully with this coming of this programme," GVH Majora said.

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