Malawi President talks tough against child rapists

Malawi’s President Joyce Banda has said she has spent a better part of her adult life championing the cause of youth and women and she will not allow men sexually abusing girls as young as four years old and old women.

Speaking at an impromptu mass rally in Ntandire Township in the Capital City, Lilongwe on Thursday, President Banda bemoaned reports that a total of 68 kids of less than eight years had been sexually molested in the area and that all of them had tested positive to the deadly HIV/Aids.

“I called for this meeting at short notice after the Director of Somebody Cares Orphanage, Theresa Malira, came to State House last night and told me about how young girls are abused and raped in this area.

President Banda: Wants stiffer sentences for rapists.Photo by Living Kalimanjira/Nyasa Times

“I have heard reports also that a man who raped five small girls had been convicted but only given a lenient five years jail term. Something needs to seriously be done about this evil. I am a mother and I cannot accept that the children we bear should become objects of sexual abuse by irresponsible men,” said the Head of State.

President Banda then called upon the police chief, Lot Dzonzi to set up a police station in the area so that arising sexually-related crimes are dealt with as soon as they happen. The President noted that Dzonzi was a God-fearing Police Inspector General who was at the heart of implementing police reforms that saw the ‘Police Force’ turning into a ‘Police Service’.

“When I sacked the former IG and brought in Mr. Dzonzi I wanted to ensure that integrity and professionalism returns to the service. I have every hope that the police will assist us deal with these child rapists once and for all,” President Banda said, urging on the judiciary also to mete out appropriate punishment against such offenders as lenient sentences bring the offenders back into society quickly where they resume their bad ways.

The Malawi leader pledged that as Head of State and a citizen of the country, she would assist Malira, her orphanage and the Ntandire community to deal with the iniquity by some men who rape kids.

On his part, Police Inspector General Dzonzi pledged the police would quickly arrange a consultative meeting with community leaders in the area to explore the possibility of police permanent presence in Ntandire.

He noted that most cases of child rape result from unreasonable beliefs where some men believe that when one is HIV positive, they have to have sex with a small girl and that the HIV disappears.

Somebody Cares Director, Malira, emphasized that the problem of child rape was real and rampant in Ntandire and that a timely intervention by all stakeholders would be vital to arrest the situation.

Gender, Women and Children Affairs Minister, Anita Kalinde attributed the growing cases of child rape to, among others, excessive alcohol abuse, particularly that which is packed in sachets.

“Your Excellency, I am aware that the Minister of Finance, in his Budget Presentation, said he had raised tax on sachets spirits by about 250 percent. Your Excellency, initially, these sachets were being sold at K10 each and with this raised tax, the price would still be lower, maybe at K20. Men and children will continue to abuse these spirits and cases of child rape will continue. May Your Excellency consider banning these sachets, please? Our girls are not safe with the sachets in the streets,” said Kalinde, who is also legislator for Thyolo North.

In response, President Banda directed that the Vice President, Khumbo Kachali, Trade Ministry officials and manufacturers of sachet spirits indulge in a consultative process to explore ways of stopping the alarming alcohol abuse.

She said her government would ban the sachet spirits if a proper ‘way forward’ is not found.

Earlier, President Banda donated assorted items and blankets to orphans at Somebody Cares Orphane in Ntandire.

President Banda with Minister Kalinde visiting the orphanage. Photo by Living Kalimanjira/Nyasa Times
Malira: Speaking of the abuses the children are facing.
Police chief Dzonzi assures of tight security. Photo by Living Kalimanjira/Nyasa Times
Crowd at President's Banda meeting in Ntandile.Photo by Living Kalimanjira/Nyasa Times
President Banda donates to orphans.Photo by Living Kalimanjira/Nyasa Times

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