BLANTYRE--Pentecostal cleric Zack Kawawala, one of the few men who attended Friday’s protest against stripping women naked for wearing trousers, apologised to women “on behalf of men”, saying such acts are unacceptable.
“The incident was an abomination. I am sorry on behalf of men,” he said, adding that he was surprised ordinary women in wearing pants were attacked yet women police officers in the country also wear the same as their uniform.
Women booed Innocent Mussa, a chairperson of Blantyre market vendors, who wanted to speak at the function but was stopped and chased away.
Mussa told MaraPost that he wanted to defend the vendors, saying not all of them were involved in the incident in Lilongwe. He said the image of vendors had been damaged and feared that women were on a campaign to boycott buying from them.
He said the real culprits were hundreds of unemployed youths, who mingle with vendors because they have nothing to do.
“I was also concerned with the stupid incident. I wanted to tell the women that don’t blame the vendors because they have no time to go and strip women wearing trousers.”
Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has told women to be free to wear "what you want", saying Malawi had no dress code barring women from wearing pants.
The president said he was surprised that vendors were harassing the women when in fact "wearing a trouser is more protective to a woman than wearing a skirt."
Until 1994, women in this deeply conservative southern African country were banned from wearing pants under the dictatorship of Kamuzu Banda.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment