CHAMBO NG’UNI, Chibombo
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has lauded traditional leaders for joining the fight against early marriages, child pregnancy and other vices that prevent social and financial progress of girls and women.
And Mrs Lungu says it is disappointing that some victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and relatives of perpetrators of the vice are withdrawing cases from the police.
Mrs Lungu is happy that traditional leaders working with Government and other partners have made strides in their chiefdoms in the fight against early marriages and GBV.
“We are very grateful for what you [traditional leaders] are doing,” Mrs Lungu said. “It is you our traditional leaders who are custodians of the large number of the population.”
Mrs Lungu said here on Friday during a meeting with Chief Liteta at Twalumba Health Centre that it is encouraging that traditional leaders are tirelessly working with other stakeholders in fighting GBV, early marriages and HIV.
Mrs Lungu said is working with spouses of traditional leaders and her office will hold workshops for spouses of traditional leaders to empower them with information and skills on how to effectively participate in addressing GBV, early marriages and HIV.
“If we work together with chiefs, ourselves, the civil society and all stakeholders, we will be able to have the results.”
And Chief Liteta told Mrs Lungu that the fight against early marriages, child pregnancy and GBV has gained momentum because he is fully involved.
Chief Liteta, who is one of the Lenje traditional leaders in Chibombo district, said he would not relent in playing a leading role in fighting GBV, early marriages and HIV in his chiefdom.
“We want to ensure that early marriages are stopped. We need to be covered by the law on the punishment of offenders of GBV and early marriages,” Chief Liteta said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Lungu has said it is disappointing that some cases of GBV and child defilement are being withdrawn from the police.
Mrs Lungu said women and girls should be sensitised about their rights so that they do not withdraw cases of GBV and defilement.
She said everything should be done to curb child defilement and all forms of GBV.