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Joyce Banda reports Msundwe incident to African body

BANDA— I am mandated to speak against violence against women

Former president, Joyce Banda, has reported to African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) alleged sexual assault cases on women and girls by police officers in Msundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika areas in Lilongwe which happened two weeks ago.

Some police officers are said to have sexually harassed some girls and women in what is believed to be retaliation after a police officer, Usumani Imedi, was killed by some residents of Msundwe in a fracas which occurred there.

Banda, who ruled Malawi between 2012 and 2014, and is in the board of the network, said women in the country are facing various challenges, one of them being sexual abuse.

She said that is one reason which compelled her to report the matter to the African body.

The AWLN aims to advance, train and support female leaders in Africa. It advocates policies that empower and enable women on the continent across the political, economic and humanitarian fields.

The former president was speaking yesterday at Kamilaza congregation of Church of Central Africa Presbyterian of the Livingstonia Synod.

She said the network has since instituted investigations on the alleged cases of sexual assault.

“I am mandated to speak against violence against women. As a member of African Women Leaders Network, we are serious on the matter [of alleged police officers’ sexual abuse of girls and women], because we get surprised that the police [who are alleged culprits] are the ones investigating. We are also doing our own investigations and once we get the facts, we will seek justice. If Malawi will fail [to prosecute suspects] we are going [to report the matter] whether to International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice and Africa Court of Justice,” Banda said.

She then said the Executive arm of government should also play a critical role to make sure that citizens, especially the vulnerable, are protected from all forms of abuse.

Livingstonia Synod Moderator, Reverend Douglas Chipofya, said the church is deeply concerned by the acts of the purported law enforcers and urged the government to listen to voices of wisdom from those who criticise wrong-doing other than dismissing them as being politically inclined.

“If we are not criticising and condemning the theft, injustice, violence and other malpractice, who will speak? We will not stop because some people labeled us as politicians,” Chipofya said.

The synod’s General Secretary, Reverend Levi Nyondo, then advised leaders in the country to always listen to the people if they are to succeed.

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