Assemblies of God pastor handed 8 years jail term for impregnating 16-year-old girl

A pastor at the Assemblies of God Church in Mchinji, Steven Chabwera, will spend the next eight years in jail for impregnating a 16-year-old girl from Nkhwazi Village in Traditional Authority Mavwere.

The conviction follows the referral of the case to the police by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe (CCJP Lilongwe) for prosecution.

CCJP Lilongwe is implementing a Community Paralegal Programme whose major objective is to promote resolution of conflicts and disputes through community-based structures and traditional mechanisms.

CCJP Lilongwe district coordinator for Mchinji, Alexius Nasoni, said they decided to refer the case to the police because it was criminal in nature.

“After discussions and counselling, the defendant pleaded guilty and the girl wanted to continue schooling. However, the matter was referred to police and then court. He was sentenced to eight years and the girl is back to school,” said Nasoni.

CCJP Lilongwe also rescued a 14-year-old from forced marriage in Ekesi Village in T/A Mavwere.

Her parents forced her to marry after she passed her Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education examinations and was selected to start form one at Kabzala CDSS in Mchinji.

“They said they had no money to pay for her school fees. The girl lived in fear but wanted to go to school. Having noted this, village headman Ekesi secretly visited CCJP offices in Mchinji to reveal the syndicate in this family. CCJP engaged all the parties concerned to understand the real reasons for marrying off the child. It was then when it was discovered that the parents did not have enough resources to help in the education of the girl. CCJP explained on the importance of education of the girl child and the dangers of marrying off young girls,” said Nasoni.

CCJP Lilongwe referred the girl to World Vision Malawi, which is now paying her tuition fees and also provides her with other necessities.

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