Thyolo violence is a gender issue—Kalinde

Minister of Water Development and Irrigation Anita Kalinde who is also an executive member of the ruling People’s Party has described as “and insult to women in Malawi” the political violence which happened last Sunday at Goliati in the Southern tea-growing district of Thyolo in which two people including a police officer were killed.

Opposition DPP president and the party’s presidential candidate for the May 20 polls, Peter Mutharika, comes from the area.

Speaking at a function when President Joyce Banda was inaugurating a water tank at Misesa in the commercial city of Blantyre, Kalinde said the fact that violence occurred during the political rally of the woman president, women in Malawi have taken this as a gender issue and they will retaliate on May 20 by voting for President Banda.

“That violence at Goliati was a gender issue,” said Kalinde.

“Why pelting stones while the [woman] president was making speech. We, women in Malawi are angry with that. We feel you are taking us for granted. But cannot just be watching such habits towards women are happening. Having a huge population in Malawi we will all vote for Joyce Banda,” added Kalinde.

But President Banda didn’t comment anything concerning the Thyolo incident which is believed to have been perpetrated by the speech of her heath minister Catherine Gotani Hara who castigated leader of the opposition Democratic Progressive party Peter Mutharika who command a huge following in the district.

The  ruling PP  have argued that there is something wrong with DPP and Thyolo, saying former president Bakili Muluzi was in 2009 disturbed when he was holding a campaign rally for John Tembo’s presidential candidacy and UDF’s Atupele Muluzi was in 2012 attacked by the same DPP at Bvumbwe.

While DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi distanced his party from the fracas, arguing some members of DPP wanted to have a football match at the venue the President addressed the rally, but had to move to another ground to give the President a space.

Kalinde: It's now a gender issue
Kalinde: It’s now a gender issue

In her speech, President Banda however reiterated that she cannot stop donating maize, clothes, and building houses and giving cows to the needy.

“I have been doing this for the past twenty years. No one can stop me now,” she stressed

Critics have long been calling for the president to stop “buying votes through donating relief items” saying this is tantamount to rigging the elections.

Malawi is expected to hold the tripartite elections on May 20 in about seven million illegible voters are expected to vote for the president, members of parliament and councillors.

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