By Limpho Sello
MASERU — Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) will tomorrow march to petition Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and government Ministries to improve systems “to better deal with the protection of and prevent violence against women and children”.
CCJP’s Gender and Child Protection Officer, ‘Mamotsiba Makara, told the Lesotho Times yesterday that the march is in commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and will also be supported by the Catholic Women’s League.
Thabane, Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane, Correctional Services and Law Minister Mophato Monyake and Justice, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Minister, Haae Phoofolo, are counted among principal guests who have confirmed their attendance, Makara said.
The march will commence at 8 a.m. and proceed from the Moshoeshoe I monument to the Our Lady of Victory grounds at the main cathedral where the premier and his ministers will be petitioned in the church, followed by a short holy mass to conclude the day’s business.
“The holy mass will also serve as a platform where victims of recent and previous immoral incidences will be remembered and prayed for,” Makara said.
According to Makara, their concern stemmed from the fact that since the beginning of the year, there’s no newspaper that one reads without “coming across articles of rape and murders of women and children”.
The petition, Makara added, would also be a follow-up of a statement that was made by the Lesotho Catholic Bishops about rape and murders that have massively grown in the country.
Makara added that their petition should not be seen simply as an appeal to authorities.
“But we want them to declare war on gender-based violence in a similar manner that they are doing with stock theft. We want them to be concerned about issues relating to gender-based violence,” Makara said.
“We want them to talk about and address this issue in every forum.”
Makara emphasised that “this will be a holy march”.
“The church is part of the society hence violence affects it one way or the other and Catholic women believe that campaigning and showing their support will force the leaders to end the conspiracy of silence,” Makara said.
Makara said CCJP’s objective is to promote social justice and human rights especially for marginalised groups, children, women as well as minority groups.