God does not forbid women from wearing trousers – YADEMA

Women in trousers: Not forbidden by

Youth Association for Democracy (YADEMA) Secretary General, Leonard Matanda has said it is wrong for anyone to claim that God forbids women from wearing trousers

Matanda was speaking during a panel discussion aired live on Trans World Radio in Lilongwe.

He said people who argue that the bible forbids women from wearing trousers simply misunderstand the wholly book because there was indeed a time when God prescribed a dress code where there was a hint of women not allowed to wear men’s clothes, but said that was for a specific time when the Israelites were at war.

“People need to understand that at different stages God handed down different laws to His people and usually for specific reasons. Nevertheless, there is no place in the Bible where God forbids women from wearing trousers,” he said.

Matanda was responding to arguments that the undressing, harassing and booing of women that occurred in Malawi’s cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu may have may be justified on the basis that God forbids women from wearing men’s clothes, including trousers.

Several contributors to the discussion, quoting Deuteronomy 22, verse 5 said it was ungodly and sinful for women to wear men’s clothes, insisting any arguments to the contrary were against the will of God.

But Matanda, a law student at Chancellor College and a Presbyterian countered by saying not all laws given to man by God that can be found in the Bible are applicable today, saying in the book of Mark in Chapter 12 verses 28 to 34 there is a story of a teacher of law at the time, who upon seeing contradictions in some laws given to man, asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was.

“Jesus told the teacher of law to love God with all his heart, mind and strength and to love his neighbour and emphasized that if he fulfilled that, he would enter the Kingdom of God,” Matanda said

The discussion was also attended by YADEMA interim president, Wapona Kita and Director of Gender Justice, Habiba Osman.

In her contribution, Osman said she was appalled that instead of sympathizing with victims of harassment, some people actually wanted to apportion blame to the victims.

“I am totally shocked that anyone can have the nerve to justify the violence that was suffered by the women who were undressed. Violence against women, or against anyone for that matter, must never be condoned or justified,” she said.

On his part, Kita said it was dangerous for some people to behave as if Malawi was a religious state governed by the bible.

“We all need to remember that Malawi is a circular state, governed by a circular constitution. The constitution we have now does not forbid women from wearing trousers or miniskirts, therefore no one has a right to stop women from dressing in such attire,” Kita said.

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