Escalating child marriages, GBV cases in Western Province worry govt

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—-North-Western Province Minister, Nathaniel Mubukwanu, says government is greatly concerned with the escalating cases of child marriages and gender based cases in communities.

Mr Mubukwanu says such acts are not only cruel but also a serious violation of children’s and women’s rights as enshrined in the constitution.

He said to this end, government has doubled its efforts to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes are brought to justice.

The minister was speaking in Manyinga over the week-end during the Lukwakwa traditional ceremony of the Mbunda people of Senior Chief Sikufele.

Mr Mubukwanu urged Zambians to respect and uphold the country’s heritage through observing traditional ceremonies.

“We should always keep in mind that traditional ceremonies are a unifying factor in that they provide a vital platform for government and traditional leaders to interact and share ideas on how to accelerate
programmes aimed at poverty reduction and ultimately improve the living standards of Zambians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Mubukwanu said the Patriotic Front (PF) government is taking steps aimed to mitigate the suffering of the people in Manyinga and has since delivered a total of 4, 055 x 50 kg bags of D
Compound fertilizer as of last month and that cooperatives have since started applying for the commodity.

“Government, through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has also bought about 69, 031 x 50 kg bags of white maize from farmers within the district who sold maize to the agency and soon all the farmers will be paid their money,” Mr Mubukwanu said.

He said out of 300 farmers the sold the maize to FRA, 250 have already been paid their money.

Speaking at the same occasion, Lukwakwa traditional ceremony national chairman, Gregory Kangwanda, thanked the PF administration for declaring Manyinga a district.

“The people of Manyinga are very thankful to your government for this very special gift as this has helped in job creation. However, the people of Manyinga are waiting for infrastructural development in this new district,” Mr Kangwanda said.

He also called on government to expedite the payment of farmers who sold their maize to FRA.

Earlier, Senior Chief Sikufele appealed to government to urgently rehabilitate his palace which is on the verge of collapsing.

The traditional leader said his advisory committee has since resorted to move him to a safer place if nothing is done to rehabilitate his house in view of the coming rainy season.

In response, Mr Mubukwanu assured the Chief that a team of inspectors will soon be sent to Manyinga to assess his house so that it is worked on within a shortest possible time before rains intensify.

Mr Mubukwanu said it is the policy of the government to provide decent accommodation for traditional leaders and has embarked on an ambitious programme to construct chief’s palaces countrywide which will see the construction of three chief’s palaces in North-Western Province in the initial phase.

He said the PF government is determined to work with chiefs to foster development especially in rural areas.

“As government we want to see traditional leaders taking the centre stage in the administration of the country and I want to implore all our chiefs countrywide to make full use of their ministry that has been
created to effectively participate in the affairs of the nation,” Mr Mubukwanu said.