Lilongwe vendors say sorry for women stripping

Malawi vendors have issued formal apology to women after a campaign to stop people buying merchandise from street vendors in main cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu had gained momentum following attacks of women wearing trousers, leggings, shorts and mini-skirts.

Women launched the campaign after the small-scale traders went on a rampage undressing women and girls. The attacks attracted wide condemnation from the public.

Steven Malunga, chairperson of the Lilongwe Vendors Association on Sunday told a news conference which was also attended by national police spokesman Davie Chingwalu that the street sellers were very sorry to women.

Women protest stripping

“On behalf of all vendors, I apologise to all women for the attacks,” said Malunga.

The vendors had noted a decline in sales following the boycott.

Never again

Malunga promised that the unfortunate incident will never happen again and that women were free to wear what they want.

“We respect women, they’re our customers and we will make sure that never happens again.”

Malunga said women “should be free to walk anywhere.”

Meanwhile, Malunga said vendors will be off the streets and relocate to designated areas.

End boycott

He appealed to the public to end the campaign dubbed “lero nkugule, mawa undivule,” which is vernacular Chichewa and translates into “today I buy from you, tomorrow you undress me”.

The campaign was initiated on January 18, the day after the assaults.

Women activists said they wanted to use the campaign to teach the vendors a lesson on respecting women, according to Seodi White, executive director of the influential women rights organisation, Women in Law in Southern Africa-Malawi.

Malunga however urged the public to buy only from those selling in the designated areas.

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