Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has distanced himself from a phalanx of youth who have stripped women found wearing trousers, miniskirts or leggings in the country’s three major cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre saying he did not incite the action as critics said.
“I have not sent anybody to harass women in the streets. These people do not have my permission,” said President Mutharika in a special address to the nation on Thursday through state broadcaster MBC.
“”Every woman and girl has the right to dress the way they wish and there is no law that restricts what they should wear,” said Mutharika sounding solemnly.
He said striping women and forcing them to wear wrappers is embarrassing and un Malawian.
Mutharika said this in brief address from Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.
The President said a few years ago his government chased vendors from the streets to designated areas because they were harassing and robbing women.
He said the perpetrators were not genuine vendors but criminals, saying genuine vendors should be busy selling their merchandise and not prowling the streets.
“I will not allow this to happen again because if they start stripping women in the streets, the next thing is that they will start raping them. This against our laws and culture,” he said.
Mutharika boasted that he has been a champion of women’s rights during his work at the World Bank, Comesa and UN.
“If in Africa they are 10 people who promote and champion women’s rights then I am one of them. I will not allow anybody who calls himself a vendor to strip women using my name,” he said.
As usual Mutharika took a swipe at Human Rights Activists saying they should promote women’s rights.
“I want all those people who call themselves human rights activists, who invoke the Human Rights mantra on anything, to take up this issue and not remain quite. Is stripping women Human Rights? Is harassing women human rights? This is time for you to come out and speak out,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :