PRISCILLA CHIPULU & ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
Gender-based violence (GBV) is on the rise in Zambia with 18,540 cases recorded last year compared to 18,088 in 2015, police spokesperson Esther Katongo has said.
This represents a 2.4 percent increase in the number of GBV cases.
And three church mother bodies have appealed to Zambians to pray unceasingly for family unity and road safety in the wake of a spate of gruesome murders and Tuesdayâ€™s road traffic accident which claimed 10 lives on the Great North Road.
Mrs Katongo said in a statement yesterday that Copperbelt recorded the highest number of GBV cases at 5,554 followed by Lusaka which recordedÂ 3,751 cases while Central Province cases stand at 2,673.
â€œOther provinces are Western with 1,585; North-Western with 1,455; Eastern with 1,003; Southern with 684; Luapula with 629; Muchinga with 624 and Northern Province recording the lowest at 383,â€ she said.
And 2,363 cases of defilement were reported countrywide, out of which 2,344 were girl victims and 19 were boys.
Mrs Katongo said Lusaka Province recorded the highest number of defilement cases which stood at 1,064 followed by Central Province with 274, Eastern Province had 264 cases, Copperbelt recorded 243 cases while Luapula recorded the lowest number with 59 cases.
She also said that there were 265 cases of rape in 2016.
â€œ106 cases of rape were taken to court resulting in 29 convictions, two acquittals, three withdraws whilst 72 are still pending in court. 136 cases are still under investigation at various police stations whilst 23 cases were withdrawn. Copperbelt recorded 64 cases followed by Lusaka with 54, Central had 39 cases while the rest of the country had a total of 108 cases,â€ Mrs Katongo said.
She also said the country recorded 77 GBV-related murder cases representing 0.4 percent of the reported cases out of which 36 were male victims, 30 female, 7 girls and 4 boys.
She said 51 cases were taken to court with 5 convictions, 1 acquittal, 45 still pending at court while 26 cases are still under investigation at various police stations.
â€œLusaka recorded the highest number of murder cases with 18 cases, followed by Central province 16 and Copperbelt province 12 cases, North-Western recorded 11, Muchinga province had 10 while other provinces put together recorded 10 murder cases,â€™â€™ she said.
And the country recorded 6,769 cases of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, representing 36.5 percent of the reported GBV cases of which 5,666 were female victims while 1,103 were male victims.
She said Central Province recorded the highest number of assault cases with 1,544 followed by Copperbelt recording 1,453 and Lusaka 1,287 cases with Northern Province recording the lowest number at 112.
â€œFor human trafficking cases, the country recorded 23 cases out of which 5 were male victims, 4 female, 7 boys and 7 girls,â€ she said.
Meanwhile, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Pukuta Mwanza, Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCC) secretary general Cleopas Lungu and Bishops Council of Zambia (BCZ) Bishop Abinala Manda said in separate interviews that the country needs prayers.
â€œThere is a spiritual backlash as exhibited by the gruesome murders of three people and the loss of 10 lives in a road traffic accident,â€ Reverend Mwanza said.
He advised people in relationships against resorting to physical confrontations whenever they have differences but to instead seek counselling.
Rev Mwanza said killing each other is not the solution, hence the need for the death penalty to be re-introduced so that it acts as a deterrent to murderers.
He said that some people now no longer fear killing others because of the absence of the death penalty.
And Father Lungu said that since life belongs to God, there is need for prayers over such unfortunate incidents
He said that it is not enough to just say one is a Christian when their faith does not translate into action.
Fr Lungu said that since Zambia is a God-fearing nation, there is need to commit everything in Godâ€™s hands.
Meanwhile, Bishop Manda urged the people of Zambia to continue praying so that the country can overcome the dark cloud that is hovering over the nation.
Bishop Manda said prayer and fasting are key when it comes to solving such problems.
And PRISCILLA MWILA reports that Women for Change (WfC) has called on Government and other stakeholders to step up their vigilance and actions on fighting GBV.
WfC executive director Lumba Siyanga said any form of GBV against women, girls, boys or men is wrong and should be condemned in the strongest sense.
She said surveys carried out have revealed that GBV has been caused by multiple factors and often takes place in homes and hidden places.
Ms Siyanga said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that the continued shielding of GBV perpetrators by family members, communities and institutions such as schools should not be tolerated.
â€œMany GBV perpetrators grew up in homes where GBV was prevalent. The majority of GBV survivors are poor or unaware of the law, while others due to lack of counselling services have been harmed or have harmed their perpetrators because the services are not easily available,â€ she said.
Ms Siyanga said GBV survivors need to be imparted with knowledge and skills that would help them be independent and leave abusive relationships.
Last Sunday, Autoforce proprietor Reeves Malambo was brutally murdered, allegedly by his girlfriend, while in another case a man of Kaunda Square in Lusaka is said to have killed his son and girlfriend after a quarrel.