Vice President Saulos Chilima has appealed to women in the country to speak with one voice on matters affecting them as opposed to pulling each other or succumbing to the divide and rule traps set on them.
Chilima was speaking in Lilongwe Saturday when he attended an inaugural networking meeting for the Women Lawyers Association held under the theme; Women Lawyers in the evolving legal landscape.
“Form a block and speak with one voice. Do not be the first pull fellow women. Do not succumb to the divide and rule traps that are meant to divide you. Always speak with one voice on issues affecting you,” said Chilima.
Specifically, commenting on the rising cases of rape and other gender based violence, Chilima urged the association to advance calls to have laws that spell out stiffer punishment for rapists.
“A strong legislation with stiff punishment for rapists is what we need if this nonsense has to stop. We must all work towards that direction,” he said.
Earlier, the Vice President declared his support for the association and described WLA as a the beginning of a new era for women lawyers in the country.
“A new era in which people realise that equality, equal justice and equality of opportunity are complex ideas, difficult to implement but achievable through sustained efforts of those committed like it is the case with the women lawyers. On a lighter note, the Vice President the only time he has been closest to being a lawyer was when he stood in the witness box for days during the election nullification case.
To that effect, Chilima also paid tribute to the women lawyers for the critical role they played to the case as friends of the court as well as other cases.
“Topping the list is the Constitutional Electoral Case, then we have the Judicial Independence Case, the COVID 19 (Lockdown) case, and the Msundwe case pertaining to 18 women and girls where the court found that their rights were violated,” he said.
Chilima assured the women lawyers and other human rights defenders the Tonse Alliance administration will remain steadfast in ensuring that they are protected in the course of doing their work. The Women Lawyers Association was formed to advance the rights of women and children in Malawi.