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Zambian women committing spousal homicide

November 25, 2016

Recent high-profile murders of men by their wives are shedding light on a rarely-discussed aspect of domestic abuse. In Zambia, ten men have been killed by their wives in the past three months.

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Image: Getty Images

Zambia is reeling after recent incidents of women killing their husbands or partners after domestic disputes. While there are scant statistics on the issue, media have reported on ten murders that have occurred in only the past three months.

Zambian police this week reported that Jacqueline Mwiindwa, 36, appeared in court for murdering her husband in Lusaka. The incident occurred when she drove off with their children after an argument about custody. The husband clung to the car as she sped off and was run over.

Meya Namfukwe, 21, was arrested in Lusaka for killing her husband with a knife after a quarrel. Another woman was reportedly arrested by police after she brutally stabbed her husband to death with a knife in public after a domestic quarrel.

Zambia's Minister of Gender Victoria Kalima addressed the issue recently and appeared to lay most of the blame on the women.

"The increased number of women killing men shows that women are not getting the right training before marriage," she said.

Few statistics

Few statistics are available in Zambia regarding the occurrence of female-on-male domestic violence from a male's perspective.

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Many of the men were stabbed to death after disputes with their wives Image: bilderbox

The Zambian Demographic and Health Survey 2013-14 did survey women on domestic violence. It found that 37 percent of ever-married women reported experiencing physical violence, 17 percent reported sexual violence and 24 percent reported experiencing emotional violence.

However the report contained information about violence against men, though it was less extensive than violence against women. The report also only surveyed women.

It found that 9 percent of women reported that they had initiated physical violence against their husbands and 5 percent had done so in the past 12 months.

Men as victims

Liswaniso Luyando was the victim of gender-based violence who survived after being shot by his former wife during a quarrel over food.

"I think even us men after being abused should come out and report these issues to police or other organizations dealing with gender violence," he said.

Alice Mwanza's brother was killed by his wife during a domestic quarrel and said that the experience has been traumatizing for the family.

"His children right now are suffering because there's no support," she said. "If the father is not there, the children cannot get well educated so we have a problem with this issue."

Juliet Chibuta is the executive director of the Zambia National Women's Lobby, an NGO that promotes gender equality in decision making. She described the recent killings as barbaric.

"There's a need for counseling and guidance services to be heightened as traditional counseling encouraged women to stay in abusive marriages," she said. "If they [women] are in an abusive marriage, it's better to move just move out."


DW Africa's Zambia correspondent Kathy Short
Kathy Short Reporter for DW Africa covering hard news and features for the daily AfricaLink radio show.