Parliament Asks Citizens for Remedies on Defilement

Parliament says the current laws are weak as they do not give deterrent punishment on perpetrators Parliament says the current laws are weak as they do not give deterrent punishment on perpetrators

The Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs has dared the citizenry to propose penalties that can help to deal with acts of rape and defilement in the country.

The Committee’s Chairperson, Savel Kafwafwa, has described the current laws as weak, saying they are not protecting children from the vice.

Kafwafwa spoke in an interview in Zomba Tuesday after appreciating Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) interventions against violence against children and others.

“There has been a great outcry that perpetrators are not getting deterrent punishments. That is one of the issues we have noted. For instance, somebody who defiled three kids in Chikwawa got a 15 year jail term.

“We think such kind of judgments might not deter people from committing this offence. We have seen countries such as Pakistan where an injection is used to kill manhood, in Nigeria culprits are castrated and in other countries once found guilty, they are sentenced to death.    

“So in Malawi, we wish if we could amend our laws to make sure that we get something that is much stiffer. People should know that abusing a child is just like killing,” said Kafwafwa.

He was however quick to say people in the country have a final say on this, saying they have to propose the stiffer penalties.

“Ourselves as legislators, we hear from the communities. I would be so happy if we would go for castration but it should come from those we represent,” said Kafwafwa.

YONECO Executive Director, MacBain Mkandawire, says capital punishment could be a magic bullet in dealing with such issues.

“You see, when you talk about defilement or rape, it is already killing. Those people should get capital punishment but unfortunately our laws do not really provide that. But for defilement there is a life sentence, we have seen recently one of the judges melting it and we applaud that.

“Imagine defiling a 10 year old child, they live with it for the rest of their lives and even the woman who has been raped, people in the community are saying that person was raped.

“Imagine if it was your sister or mothers; unfortunately, when things have happened to someone else, we think it is for someone else and not you.

“The perpetrators deserve real punishment. I have jokingly been saying castration could be ideal,” said Mkandawire.

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