A group of political activists are challenging the candidature Sosten Gwengwe, the candidate for the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the Lilongwe Msozi North parliamentary by-election scheduled for October 17, accusing him that he married a child bride.
Speaking at a news conference at Crown Hotel in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Philip Kamangira of Citizen Alliance said the country’s Constitution stipulates every Malawian aspiring for public office is supposed to be adhere to the rule of law all the time and needs to be exemplary to the society.
Flanked by Fredrick Malata, Kennedy Mwene Munyapala, Kamangira alleges that Gwengwe who has served as a cabinet minister, Member of Parliament and in 2014 he was the running mate to the then incumbent president Joyce Banda, continues to violate the laws of the country
According to Kamangira , Gwengwe who is a director of Alice Gwengwe Foundation, married a under aged girl of 15 years old called Catherine Tsache in 2015 who was a student at his school.
Kamangira alleges that the girl who is now 17 years is not only vulnerable but also an orphan and that Gwengwe took advantage of her poor situation and status.
“When a teacher marries an underage girl, it is an offence leading to either dismissal or punishment. Hon Gwengwe has demonstrated such kind of behavior to two different girls from the same institution which he directs. He has abused his position of influence in all manners of fairness. How safe are our girls who we send to his school? What identity is he portraying to the public over such a grave misconduct by a learned man like him,” querried Kamangira.
According to Kamangira, as a public figure Gwengwe ought to have been on the forefront discouraging early child marriages.
He said: “As a country, we have put all the legal and policy instruments that strongly safeguard the rights of a girl child. Our own excellent performer, Senior Chief Kachindamoto in Dedza, has dissolved over 800 child marriages. How then are we allowing those who re aspiring for the public offices like Hon. Sosten Gwengwe to continue violating the Laws of this country in abusing the 17 year old girl on the pretext of marriage which is not just illegal but immoral?”
According to Kamangira this does not only questions the integrity of Gwengwe but also reflects badly on the leadership of MCP.
The group which says they are not calling for the disqualification of Gwengwe but only reminding him to realize that as someone vying for the public office, he is obliged to observe the laws of Malawi especially those that affect the future of a girl child
“We cannot allow him to continue abusing and exploiting this innocent 17 year old girl on the pretext of marriage due to her vulnerability. We call upon the law enforcers to immediately investigate on this matter and protect Catherine if possible send her back to school,” he said.
There was no immediate reaction from Gwengwe.
But MCP spokesperson Eisenhower Mkaka said its is petty politicking.
Mkaka said in Gwengwe, they have a candidate that “needs no introduction in the area”, saying the party is poised to retain the constituency.
The parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of Highton Jiya in January this year. He was also an MCP member.
Gwengwe once dumped MCP to join the DPP and later PP before “returning to his nest.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :