Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Navicha stunned Malawians on Monday when she was captured on cameras cheering and hand-clapping when President Peter Mutharika made sexist, crude comments against his predecessor Joyce Banda.
In an apparent response to former president Banda’s claims that he is a drunkard, Mutharika said he takes wine, but not local distil (kachasu).
“She says I drink kachasu, but I don’t. I don’t drink that, I only drink wine. Actually, red wine,” Mutharika said.
Then the President called Malawi’s only woman to become president as ‘Hule’ – a whore.
Navicha clapped hands and ululated to such unpalatable words on the modesty of a woman.
Actually, it started with Navicha herself in name calling Banda for her attack on Mutharika.
“We will hit back on her. Joyce Banda is Miss Cashgate,” said Navicha in apparent reference to a corruption scandal known as “Cashgate” that occurred during her tenure.
Banda, who was Malawi’s president for two years from 2012, after she took over from her boss at the time President Bingu wa Mutharika – who died in office – but lost an election to Peter Mutharika in 2014.
She then left the country for United States, serving as a distinguished fellow at Woodrow Wilson Center and the Center for Global Development in Washington DC, before returning to Malawi where she is now campaigning for opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) torchbearer Lazarus Chakwera in the fresh presidential elections.
The corruption scandal led to international donors halting aid to Malawi but she touted her anti-corruption credentials during her two-year stint as president.
While president, Banda ordered an independent audit of the corruption revelations, which was conducted by British firm RSM (formerly Baker Tilly). The findings were released in 2014.
Meanwhile, governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali described as unfortunate that President Mutharika and his predecessor Banda to be trading such offensive words in public.
He said: “This does not reflect well on them and should be strongly condemned. Malawians are tired of politics of insults and poverty of ideas. Let them focus on real issues—issue-based campaign.”
Tonse Alliance—which comprises MCP, UTM Party and seven other political parties— has since condemned Mutharika for his comments on Banda, saying it now “certifies him as a chauvinist with no regard for the dignity of women.”
In a statement, Tonse Alliance said throughout her life and career, Joyce Banda has distinguished herself as a champion for women’s rights, saying “Mutharika’s gall to defame her womanhood is a great travesty worthy of universal repudiation.”
Tonse Alliance is demanding Mutharika to issue a public apology to Banda within 48 hours, threatening to lodge a formal complaint with UN Women and demand that Mutharika be stripped of his designation as a UN He4She Champion.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :