Nun’s GBV case withdrawal negative – WLSA

THE withdrawal of an assault case by a Catholic nun Emma Chakupalesa against her junior teacher at Roma Girls Secondary School will set a bad precedent in fighting gender-based violence (GBV) in the country, says Women in Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Zambia Chapter.
Daswell Sichilongo, 53, a Roma Girls Secondary School teacher is said to have assaulted the head  teacher of the same school, Sr Chakupalesa, after she locked his house for failure to pay rentals.
But Mr Sichilongo was acquitted after Sr Chakupalesa withdrew the matter following intervention from the Church leadership which spoke to both parties.
Nevertheless, in a statement yesterday, WLSA stated that Mr Sichilongo should have undergone a full trial whose result would have served a lesson to both Mr Sichilongo and would-be offenders.
“Assault is a criminal offence whose conviction can go up to 10 years imprisonment. What happened between Mr Sichilongo and Sister Chakupalesa should not be trivialised because it will create a bad precedent where people will be engaging in such uncalled-for conducts and later seek forgiveness and reconciliation. If anything, WLSA feels that the Church has a big role in fighting GBV cases in the country and in as much as it preaches reconciliation, it should also highlight importance of perpetrator accountability. Mr Sichilongo’s court case should have seen the light of conviction,” it stated.
WLSA has also urged the Zambia Police to hasten investigations and bring to book six men who allegedly gang-raped a 20-year-old girl in Ndola recently.
“Rape is a criminal offence which attracts a minimum sentence of 15 years. We feel perpetrators of such violence should undergo fully-fledged trial and if convicted given custodial sentences. The conviction and incarceration of perpetrators of GBV cases, which include rape, defilement sexual harassment and assault, would deter perpetrators from repeating similar offences and would also send a warning to would-be offenders,” it stated.
The media reported that six men allegedly raped a 20-year-old woman who was allegedly coming from a drinking spree.

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