Vice President Saulos Chilima has appealed to women in the country to speak with one voice on matters affecting them as opposed to pulling each other down or succumbing to the divide and rule traps set on them.
Chilima was speaking in Lilongwe Saturday when he attended an inaugural networking meeting for the Women Lawyers Association held under the theme; Women Lawyers in the evolving legal landscape.
“Form a block and speak with one voice. Do not be the first pull fellow women. Do not succumb to the divide and rule traps that are meant to divide you. Always speak with one voice on issues affecting you,” said Chilima.
Specifically, commenting on the rising cases of sexual assualts and other gender-based-violence, Chilima urged the association to advance calls to have laws that spell out stiffer punishment for rapists.
“A strong legislation with stiff punishment for rapists is what we need if this nonsense has to stop. We must all work towards that direction,” he said.
Earlier, the Vice President declared his support for the association and described WLA as the beginning of a new era for women lawyers in the country.
“A new era in which people realise that equality, equal justice and equality of opportunity are complex ideas, difficult to implement but achievable through sustained efforts of those committed like it is the case with the women lawyers,” he said.
On a lighter note, the Vice President the only time he has been closest to being a lawyer was when he stood in the witness box for days during the election nullification case.
To that effect, Chilima also paid tribute to the women lawyers for the critical role they played to the case as friends of the court as well as other cases.
“Topping the list is the Constitutional Electoral Case, then we have the Judicial Independence Case, the COVID 19 (Lockdown) case, and the Msundwe case pertaining to 18 women and girls where the court found that their rights were violated,” he said.
Chilima assured the women lawyers and other human rights defenders the Tonse Alliance administration will remain steadfast in ensuring that they are protected in the course of doing their work.
Executive Director of Action Aid, Assan Golowa said the organization was thrilled to see WILA rising up against the injustices women and girls are encountering on daily basis saying the organization will continue funding initiatives that favour women rights.
UN resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres said the status quo was worrisome that there was huge increase of women and girl’s rights violations across the world despite many efforts made to deter the vice.
“You would all agree that 2020 has been unprecedented year even before Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s shocking and very sad to report that women abuse is at the increase, rape and defilement is among the worst and sad to say that Malawi is not an exception. Let us not relent in defending rights and seeking justice for our women,” she appealed meanwhile thanking government for the steps being taken to address the challenges.
The event which started with a buffet and informal interaction was held under the theme ‘Women in Law the Evolving Legal Landscape’
The Women Lawyers Association was formed to advance the rights of women and children in Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :