CrimeHuman Rights

Village Headwoman Manjombe and six others jailed for violating child rights

Senior Resident Magistrate Court in Mangochi on Wednesday convicted and sentenced village head Manjombe and six others to three years imprisonment with hard labour each for conducting a cultural practice that was in conflict with Child Care Protection and Justice Act.

Prosecutor, Sub Inspector Emanuel Kambwiri said the practice is contrary to Section 80 as read with Section 83 of Child Care, Protection and Justice Act.

He told the court that the District Commissioner for Mangonchi Dr. Raphael Piringu tipped the police on November 3 this year that Manjombe and six others held seven children in camp for cultural initiation.

Following the tip, Mangochi police mobilized an operation that stormed the camp to rescue the children and later arrested Village head Manjombe, 50, Alubi Kasale, 33, Jika M’bawa, 30, Pius Elioti, 25, Jawadu James, 27, Patuma Amadu, 41, and Patuma James for going against the initiation by-laws.

He added that the by-laws were facilitated by the District Commissioner’s office to stop cultural initiation during school period to respect children right to education.

Kambwiri further said Manjombe and the six that included two initiation camp facilitators and parents of seven children were arrested for forcing their children into harmful practice by putting them in a confinement for initiation.

The seven pleaded not guilty to the charge levelled against them such that the state was prompted to bring witnesses who testified against them.

In mitigation, the seven appealed for leniency saying that they had families, children and relatives they care for adding that this was also their first time to commit an offence.

Passing judgement, Senior Resident Magistrate Rodrick Michongwe said the confinement was a violation of children right to education adding that it was surprising that the confinement was planned by the village head and parents who are supposed to be responsible for children’s well-being and education.

“Initiation ceremonies are not bad, many of us we passed through this rite but doing it during school period is a harmful cultural practice,” said Michongwe.

He therefore convicted and sentenced the seven people to two years imprisonment with hard labour to serve as a lesson to would be offenders.

All convicts come from Manjombe Village, Traditional Authority Chowe in Mangochi. 


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