The government has said it is concerned with increasing cases of women who are perpetrating violence on their children in the country.
Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Mary Navicha, was reacting to the latest incident in which five children have been scalded by their mothers or close relations between December last year and this month.
She warned that the government will not spare any woman or man perpetrating violence against children.
“It is very unfortunate that children are being abused in places where they are supposed to get protection. Violence against children is growing in the country such that we need to employ some deterrent actions against the perpetrators,” she said.
Last week, a 12-year-old boy in Mangochi District was scalded by hot cooking oil for allegedly stealing nsima.
Last month, a 30-year-old woman was arrested for burning the hands of her five-year-old son with a hot knife for allegedly stealing relish on Christmas day.
Navicha said such cases present a bad picture of how women are treating their children in the country.
She said her ministry has started holding parental training and remind parents about their roles in ensuring that rights of children are protected.
“We are using the Early Child Development Centres where officers from the Ministry are engaging parents and sensitise them to children’s rights. As you are aware, we launched the Child Protection Policy last year and we are popularising it to locals across the country through these trainings,” she said.
But a social commentator with National Initiative for Civic Education Public Trust, Turner Banda, believes that poverty is the root cause of such cases of violence.
“How can one scald her own child because of K100? You will see that
this is because of poverty. People are struggling. However, it is
wrong for parents to perpetrate violence on their children,” he said.
But Navicha dismissed the poverty notion, arguing that lives of
people in the country have improved compared to 50 years ago, yet more children are facing violence now than decades ago.