Allow couples to report marital disputes – Luo

Nkandu Luo
Nkandu Luo

GENDER Minister Nkandu Luo has implored the police to desist from advising couples to resolve marital disputes from their households, but encourage them to report such cases to law-enforcement agencies.
Professor Luo said this was because the law-enforcement agencies could not keep track of whether or not the disputes were being settled.
The minister said it was vital to know whether any couple had suffered injuries or death as a result of irreconcilable differences.
She was speaking in Lusaka at the weekend during a joint HeforShe campaign meeting between Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aimed at engaging boys and girls, men and women as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights.
“I have heard reports that you chase married couples to go and solve their marital disputes at home, but do you know how many of those disputes were settled and how many women have died as a result of this? Why do we have you then if you cannot protect?” she asked.
Prof Luo said gender-based violence (GBV) was degrading and eroding morals of society and called on the police to intensify measures to stop the escalation.
“Ensure that perpetrators of GBV do not go without receiving the required punishment,” she said.
Prof Luo called on the Church to influence the fight against GBV by delivering messages of peace to their congregants.
She said Church leaders should always make mention of GBV in their teachings and find time to interact with their members as some could be engaging in the act.
“This man’s headship is self-appointed and it should not be entertained in our churches. Teach the men to respect their women instead of women submission all the time; you have a role to play and you can either build or break homes depending on how you teach,” Prof Luo said.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Pukuta Mwanza said faith-based leaders should do everything possible to reverse the negative stereotypes, stigma and discrimination that contributed to GBV and inequality in societies.
Reverend Mwanza said the clergy were among the most influential members of the community and the campaign against GBV must serve as a reminder for them to be fully engaged in matters of gender inequality and equity.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of administration, Eugene Sibote urged male officers in particular to give equal opportunities to both men and women as the effects of gender inequality on humanity was a threat to national development.
Mr Sibote said there was need for all the officers to get involved in developing action plans that would eradicate GBV.
United Nations resident coordinator Janet Rogan said access to justice was impeded by lack of confidence by the public in service provision, including the police and the judicial system.
Ms Rogan said unless the police worked effectively together with other stakeholders, including the public, to address GBV, the vice would not be overcome.