President Peter Mutharika sparked outrage for attacking his predecessor Joyce Banda using lewd and demeaning language during his whistle-stop tour in Thyolo on Monday.
Mutharika attacked Banda, accusing her of lying to Malawians in order to dent the image of the Mutharikas and called his predecessor ‘hule’, which literally means a prostitute and madeya (husks).
He made the remarks when he made a stop in Goliati, Thyolo dismissing remarks that Banda made at a televised political rally that Mutharika was binge alcohol drinker, saying he embarrassed her during trip in China when Malawi government was switching diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing during late Bingu wa Mutharika’s reign.
Mutharika dismissed that claims, saying Joyce Banda wanted a hotel room next to Bingu and he refused, saying she is a “hule” [bitch].
“I told her Bingu was going for good taste and that he couldn’t have husks,” he said.
The President also accused Banda for selling of the Presidential Jet during her reign.
The jet, which was bought during late Bingu wa Mutharika’s reign, was sold during Banda’s tenure and it is not clear how the proceeds were used.
He called Banda a “thief”, saying she got herself in wrongful enrichment with the proceeds of the jet sale.
“I want to warn her otherwise I will go after you, better stop it,” said a visibly irked Mutharika.
Before Mutharika spokes, Minister of Gender Mary Navicha was the first to launch at attacked on Joyce Banda, calling her “Miss Cashgate.”
Meanwhile, Women’s Manifesto Movement – women’s rights movement in Malawi – has demanded an immediate apology from Mutharika for using derogatory remarks against Banda.
Ironically, the President is a Global HeForShe Champion whose role demands that he should defend and protect the dignity and rights of women and girls.
Consequently, the development has shocked Women Movement which is grouping of like-minded institutions and organizations that came together to lead Malawian women in developing a women’s manifesto.
The movement advocates for the protection and fulfilment of women’s rights in Malawi.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Monday evening and signed by Maggie Kathewera Banda and Barbara Banda, the movement says it is shocked by the derogatory remarks Mutharika made against Banda during a whistle-stop tour.
“It is very disappointing to hear these insulting remarks from a Global HeForShe Champion who is expected to champion rights of women and girls. WOMAN regards this as serious act of violence against women perpetrated by the very same leader who is supposed to defend and protect the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi,” say Kathewera Banda and Barbara Banda in the statement.
The statement further says the remarks Mutharika made against his predecessor ‘are very demeaning to all women and girls, including those we were cheering him on’.
Kathewera Banda and Barbara Banda says in view of the above, the movement is demanding that Mutharika should categorically apologize to the former President and Malawians in both private and public media.
“[Further], we are demanding that the State President should adhere to the promise of conducting violence-free, issue-based campaign that he signed for during the 2019 election period. All political party leaders to be exemplary by desisting from engaging in physical and verbal violence and stick to issue-based campaigning,” they urge.
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) acting executive director, Sylvester Namiwa, said it is shameful for the State President, who happens to be the #HeForShe Champion, to insult the former President by calling her as ‘hule’.
Namiwa, writing on his institution’s Facebook wall, said Mutharika has dragged the Office of the President into a total disrepute.
“Mutharika should remember that his cabinet minister, Ben Phiri, was forced to apologise when he carelessly uttered similar scathing remarks in Balaka during the campaign ahead of the 2019 tripartite elections,” he reminds.
However, the two organizations have not disclosed the next step they would take should Mutharika refuse to apologize.
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