Ministry of Gender condemn Malawi police officers over sexual exploitation

The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare on Thursday issued a statement to condemn allegations by rights groups that Malawi police officers raped women, defiled girls and tortured them during demonstrations in Lilongwe over presidential election results.

Navicha: Ministry of Gender issues condemnation of police officers sexual harrassment

Riots broke out last week at Nsundwe- a trading outpost west of the capital Lilongwe – when opposition supporters blocked Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters from attending a public meeting by President Peter Mutharika. One policeman was stoned to death during the unrest.

Rights group Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) claimed that that some police officers took advantage of the chaos to sexually assault women in and around Nsundwe on the following day.

Minister of Gender Mary Navicha has remained mum on the matter  but a statement issued by Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, said it is “horrified” with the allegations of sexual exploitation by police officers  against married women and girls at the trading centres of Nsundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika.

“The Ministry is deeply concerned by these serious allegations that borders on disregard for women’s right and exploitation of their vulnerability,” reads the statement.

The Ministry said it is working with all key institutions to ensure that the allegations are investigated to their logical conclusions.

It urges the public to desist from sharing materials that may reveal the victims’ identity such as photographs, videos or names.

But human rights commentator Makhumbo Munthali faulted Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Navicha and chief director in the Public Sector Reforms Management Unit Seodi White, who is also chairperson of Forum for Concerned Women for issuing “ a mere press statement on such a serious matter.”

Munthali said White and Navicha during the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations, “they mobilised the whole state machinery and women to march against HRDC (Human Rights Defenders Coalition) for simply calling for Ansah resignation.”

He said the two should have also shed tears and hold protests against sexual harassment and rape of some wives of suspects at Nsundwe in Lilongwe and school girls at boarding schools other than just a short press statement.

“It is sheer hypocrisy of highest order. This is clearly Seodi, Navicha selective approach to shedding tears.

“Where are those tears? Were us the parade/demonstration against the perpetrators? Where is the direct condemnation not hiding allegations,” wondered Munthali.

Munthali said the “politically correct” statement from the Ministry of Gender is “a typical case of hypocrisy and lacks sincerity and deep conviction over the matter.”

Malawi police have since set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations.

“Different professionals… will investigate the matter in a transparent and independent manner,” said police spokesman James Kadadzera in a statement.

“All suspects identified will be treated according to the laws of the land without favour.”

The assaults allegedly took place on October 9 by police officers dispatched to quell the unrest, according to the NGO-GCN.

“Police went to these places on duty because they were in uniform and they used a police car,” said NGO-GCN head Barbara Banda, adding that the officers “threw teargas in every direction”.

“In one instance, the parent of one of the victims was asked to go into another room and the girl was raped.”

Banda told AFP that while three cases of sexual assault had been recorded so far, more could be “unveiled” by the investigation.

HRDC has also called for the allegations to be investigated.

“It is shocking that we have the police, who are supposed to protect people, abusing and victimizing women,” said HRDC official Gift Trapence.

Protests have flared in Malawi since Mutharika narrowly won May’s presidential election amid widespread allegations of fraud.

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Mtete
Guest

Go to Msundwe, Mbwatalika Mai Navicha. That way you will convince me you feel for the victims. Otherwise mere talk is waste of time

pitala
Guest
pitala

Koma abale ine kulepa sindimakumvesesa chimakhala nkhanza or chikondi how can a man react without manhood up is this possible with what feeling. Sunankonde or kumudziwa basi kudzuka eish agalu achiwewe oyenda kukamwa kotsegula mano or lilime la Dovu panja asatana

The Patriot
Guest
The Patriot

There is no way Mary Navitcha and Seodi White can let the matter of the Nsundwe rapesgo without crying on TV! No way Amangwetu! If they cried against the Anti Jane Ansah demonstrstions…am sure this time around they will cry the whole day on TV! Seodi and Mary are two women who know how to defend the rights of every woman in this country without considering the party affiliation or tribe!All you doubting Thomases please wait, Seodi and Mary are preparing themselves and booking airtime at MBC TV for their cries. They have also booked trucks to ferry the same… Read more »

Robert Mugabe
Guest
Robert Mugabe

Nkanakhala wa Police nkananyenganawo timabebi tanyawu. I love Police ikatuluka vacancy mundiwuze guys. Police yomweyo kuti wa wa wa!!!!

APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
Guest
APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅

Robert Mugabe you are A silly man thinking this is a joking matter. Inenso nkananyenga your mum and your sister and, if you have one, your daughter. Idiot!

Robert Mugabe
Guest
Robert Mugabe

“APM…” I think sunakhalepo ndi ma friends apolisi. I am a student at LUANAR ndipo most Police officers are more organized students of our university. Ndiye zomwe apanga it’s a matter of avenging the tragedy of last week. Ndiye I support Police. Iwe ungamve bwanji m’bale wako wa Police ataphedwa? Mwina ulibe m’bale or friend wa Police, Sucheza ndi anthu galu iwe

TAMALISHA
Guest
TAMALISHA

Ukudzitcha mugabewe ndiwe galu chitsilu wapolice anaphedwa ndi atsikana ndipo udzafa imfa yowawa

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

Chitsiru

The Patriot
Guest
The Patriot

Wait until they rape your own sisters , then you will know what rape is..dunderhead!

Mbonga Matoga
Guest
Mbonga Matoga

Can I ask……..how on earth do Malawians believe that the Malawi police can investigate themselves on this rape and sexual harassment case? This is the same police that is afraid of arresting the DPP henchmen who attacked innocent protesters in BT and hacked a Mr Mayaya almost to death despite the fact that the attack took place in the presence of some police officers and the social media was awash with video footage of the attack………Surprisingly though, the same police were too quick to arrest people in Msundwe even without evidence just becoz Msundwe is deemed to be an opposition… Read more »

Natty prince
Guest
Natty prince

Izi sizifunika kudikila wathu ayakhule kaya ndiye nkumati tikupanga kondemu palibe chokhulupilika apa nthawi yomweyo zikachitika inu muyenera kukhala oyamba kuyakhula mbuzi

Che Spokosi
Guest
Che Spokosi

What do you expect from Lomwe uncivilised cabinet ministers. Women ministers who have zokoka nourished by gondolosi.

In fact I heard Navicha yesterday asking why the Msundwe women were complain about being raped by police officers. In her twisted view she said that the Msundwe women should thank God becoz most of them would have died without sleeping with a police officer in their life….. did they not enjoy it she asked……..and I couldn’t believe what she was saying.

Vivian
Guest
Vivian

mmmmm che Spokosi bodza ngati munthu wankazi bwanji?

Concerned citizen
Guest
Concerned citizen

Ngati izi zili zoona ndikumuyika Navicha mmanja mwa Mulungu. Adzakolola zomwe iye wa dzala. Alindi ndi ana kapena abale akazi. Ndipemphero langa kuti awone chilango Cha mulomo wake kuchokera kwa Chauta. Palibe yemwe angabisalire Mulungu