CHOMBA MUSIKA and STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
SENIOR Chief Madzimawe of Chipata has handed over a man believed to be a Malawian to police for allegedly raping a grade nine pupil.
The traditional leader identified the suspect, who is believed to be an illegal immigrant, as Chipangano Sakala, who allegedly raped the pupil of Chinunda Secondary School in Chipata.
He said on his Facebook page that Sakala, who is employed as a cattle herder, allegedly raped the pupil, who was returning home after closing term two of the school calendar last Friday.
“The suspect was apprehended by the Pwata men’s network under the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) operating in Mboza and Ng’ongwe areas. He was then brought to our gender office,” Senior Chief Madzimawe said.
He said Sakala’s employers allegedly harassed and attempted to block YWCA officers from apprehending the suspect.
Senior Chief Madzimawe called for the arrest of the suspect’s employer for allegedly engaging a foreigner without a work permit.
He said Sakala and the victim were later handed over to Chipata Central Hospital one-stop centre.
Senior Chief Madzimawe described the alleged rape as regrettable especially that it happened barely a few months after a grade six pupil of the same school was almost raped by a Malawian national.
He called on the immigration department to thoroughly screen foreigners before giving them work permits, especially those seeking casual jobs in border towns like Chipata.
“Chiefs should equally assist the immigration department by making sure that immigrants who come into Zambia have proper documents. This is especially that this incident [alleged rape] comes not so long after the police rescued a 14-year-old girl who was taken away by Malawians who are coming into Zambia to look for casual jobs,” Senior Chief Madzimawe said.
He urged traditional leaders to expose gender-based violence, especially sexual offences, against girls.
The traditional leader has since called for consented efforts in fighting child marriages.
He said being a border town, Chipata receives many people from Malawi seeking casual jobs but end up marrying young girls.
“We are in danger of people crossing borders without documents. We want everybody to get involved and not to leave this to the immigration alone,” Senior Chief Madzimawe said.
He said the Church, political leaders and chiefs should all get involved in fighting child marriages being perpetrated by foreigners.
“We must put our efforts together. Our brothers who come to stay in Zambia come without documents and wrong ideas,” Senior Chief Madzimawe said.
The chief said he has flushed out all foreigners without documents from his area.
“In my chiefdom, we have put up a campaign against child marriages.
“We are telling parents not to marry off their children to foreigners because doing so is an offence,” Senior Chief Madzimawe said.