Malawi female MPs irked with comments on provocative dress: MCP’s Dzoole Mwale against exposing intimate parts

Women parliamentarians protested against remarks by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Lilongwe Msodzi South, Dzoole Mwale who lamented that most women in the country are putting on attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function.

In his contribution on the report from the Committee on HIV/AIDS and Nutrition on the Progress of Delivery of HIV/AIDS and Nutrition Services in the country, Dzoole Mwale condemned immodest dressing of women, insinuating that it was also fuelling HIV/Aids.

He said the Committee could also look at the roles of the churches, noting that “most churches are silent on the way their followers dress in churches. “

Said Dzoole Mwale: “You find that people of good faith in God, those that we believe are very faithful to God put on very tight dresses. You find them dressing very short dresses.  On top of that they wear dresses which show contour lines and valleys.”

But his remarks triggered point of orders from female lawmakers to express their outrage over the remarks.

Less of that, please, ladies: MP Dzoole Mwale condemns  immodest dress
Less of that, please, ladies: MP Dzoole Mwale condemns immodest dress

Thyolo North legislator and Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Anita Kalinde wondered if it was orderly for Dzoole Mwale to use the words “contours” on women.

Also rising on a point of order was Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jenipher Chilunga who said the Dzoole was out of order to describe the way women dress .

“Everybody has a right of dressing in Malawi,” Chilunga said.

Other MPs were heard murmuring “One can wear what one wants, but please do not be provocative.”

Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda advised the member to stick to the debate on HIV and AIDS and Nutrition services in the country rather than telling the House how women should dress.

“It is not in order to prescribe dressing in people’s churches.  I think we will not sit here and offer prescription of what to dress or not in churches.  Let us leave that matter to members of respective churches,” the Speaker said.

Dzoole Mwale however said he wanted “to hammer a little bit on this issue.”

He added: “All I am trying to say is that we should dress respectfully when we are going to churches.”

Leaders of Malawi’s biggest Christian church movement, the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), recently proposed to government to address the general ‘code of dress’ amongst Malawians to ensure that local culture and sensibilities are respected.

Until 1994, women in the deeply conservative southern African country were banned from wearing trousers or mini-skirts under the autocratic rule of Hastings Banda.

Men were also banned from having long hair.

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