Zambia Prepares to Fortify the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act No. 1 of 2011

Zambia Law Development Commission hands over a Review of the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act to the Gender Division of the Office of the President and the Judiciary

September 6, 2023
An image of Mainga Kabika, the Permanent Secretary of the Gender Division receiving the review and recommendations

The Permanent Secretary to the Gender Division in the Office of the President and the Permanent Secretary for the Judiciary recieving the review and recommendations of the Anti-GBV Act No. 1 of 2011 with the Resident Representative and representative from the Governments of Sweden and Ireland

UNDP Zambia

4 September 2023, Lusaka, Zambia – On the 31st of August, 2023, the GRZ-UN Joint Programme on Gender-Based Violence Phase II project witnessed a milestone achievement – the handover of a review with recommendations for the amendment of the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act, No 1 of 2011 by the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) to Permanent Secretary to the Gender Division of the Office of the President, Ms Mainga Kabika. With funding from the Governments of Ireland and Sweden, the project supported the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) in the development of the seminal document that is set to strengthen Zambia’s efforts to address Gender-Based Violence (GBV) within the country and to offer a fortified set of legal recourse for survivors of GBV.

The review and recommendations were further passed on to the Permanent Secretary (Legal) to the Ministry of Justice, Ms Mwenya Kaela Bwalya, through the Permanent Secretary to the Gender Division, Ms Kabika.  Also present at the handover, the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr James Wakiaga, noted in his remarks that:

“The overall objective of the review Anti-GBV Act process was to develop processes for the enforcement of the Anti-GBV Act and to establish an institutional framework that fully operationalise this legal instrument to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality. The review of the Act was also to ensure cohesion and strengthened multi-disciplinary response in the managing and timely disposal of Gender-Based Violence cases.”

In remarks read on behalf of the Hon. Lady Justice, Ruth Chibbabbuka, a member of ZLDC, Ms. Chipo Mushota Nkhata pointed out that, “The review of the Anti-GBV Act was as a result of the difficulties faced in the application and implementation of the Act. Further, between 2017 and 2023, the Auditor General conducted a performance audit whose general objective was to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Zambia Police Service, Ministry of Health, National Prosecution Authority, and the Judiciary on the disposing of reported gender-based violence cases.”

The findings of the audit revealed that case prosecution numbers fall far below the number of reported cases. Further, in cases involving child victims, there were notable challenges due to a lack of child-friendly courts and inadequate mechanisms to protect child victims such as counselling facilities. Moreover, One Stop Centres are not currently equipped with the required personnel to deal with survivors during the early stages of evidence collection and case preparation.

As GBV cases continue to rise in Zambia, with 33 536 cases recorded in 2022 compared to the 20 540 cases recorded in 2021, this review comes at a crucial juncture in Zambia, where Government of Zambia is focusing efforts on intensifying legal interventions for survivors to access services and justice in real time.

Ms Kabika add that it was through the hard work of the ZLDC and the support of the UN Agencies under the GRZ-UN Joint Programme on GBV Phase II – namely, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, ILO and IOM – that the review process led to the successful completion of this important document that will to enhance the implementation of the Act. The Permanent Secretary shared:

“Let me express my gratitude to the ZLDC who were given the mandate to lead the review process and consultations on the Act which started in 2019. Let me also express my gratitude for the well-coordinated support by the UN agencies on this programme.”

Ms Kabika further noted that:

“This event is significant as it symbolizes governments commitment to combat gender-based violence in collaboration with all our stakeholders to ensure effective enforcement and support for survivors. This report and recommendation, therein, that we have received marks a significant milestone in our continued efforts towards eradicating this pervasive issue of GBV and demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the welfare of the people in our communities”

The support of the Governments of Ireland and Sweden have been especially integral to assisting the Government of Zambia in reaching this significant turning point in Zambia’s legal and judicial history. The Head of the Development Cooperation of the Swedish Embassy to Zambia, Ms Susannah Hughes highlighted that gender-based violence is a threat to democratic development therefore, there is a need to address the vice through appropriate policy and legislation.



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