‘I had to stand up against abuse’

Member of Parliament for Thyolo North, Anita Kalinde, speaks about her fight with Defence Minister Aaron Sangala and why she doesn’t look back with regret.

Looking back at the disagreement between you and honourable Aaron Sangala in November last year—where you ‘man handled’ the minister and tore his shirt—do you have regrets?

To begin with, I did not tear his shirt. That was planted. If you go to Parliament and watch the video that captures everything in the house, you will be able to see that when I left him, his clothes were intact.

Nonetheless, I was not happy with the way the Speaker of Parliament handled the issue. If you read the Hansard of that day, the 24th of November, 2011, you will see that I had asked the Speaker, using our Standing Order 86, to ask the honourable minister [Sangala] to either withdraw his statement or clarify the matter [to bring evidence], the Speaker did not make any ruling to my point of order, instead he just told the minister to go ahead.

Standing Order 86 says “A member is responsible for the accuracy of any facts which he alleges to be true.” In this case, the minister was supposed to be asked to bring evidence to the allegations he had made against me or else withdraw. This did not happen.

What made you lose it and act in that way?

What you saw was a reaction to the provocation that I got from him; I had to show him that I am in that house on duty and not to be abused.

Looking back, don’t you think you overreacted?

I don’t regret my actions because I had to stand up and say no to the abuse.

How did people around you react to the incident?

They have given me a lot of support and understood how I felt; they have told me I was emotionally attacked and they understand my reactions. When I reached home, my children had already seen the incident on television and they hugged me and my son who is about 11 years said ‘ mum, am very sorry to what happened to you in Parliament, that man said bad things about you, he violated your human rights, that was gender-based violence.’

I couldn’t believe that he could be able see all that at his age, then my other child who is nine years old said ‘mum, if I was there I could have kicked that man’ then I said in my mind ‘God look, my children have been emotionally assaulted,  please help me to deal with this.’

You can see how this affected my family; we prayed over it and asked God for forgiveness.

Did you get support from fellow women?

Yes, I got a lot of support from fellow women and even men. Let me take this opportunity to thank the Leader of Opposition in Parliament and the entire opposition for the support they gave me, I felt so loved.

Have you forgiven honourable Sangala?

Yes, [I forgave him the same day] but I am failing to forget, it is my prayer everyday that God should help me forget.

Are going to let sleeping dogs lie or will further pursue the matter in court?

The matter which is in court is about the 30 days parliamentary sitting suspension which the government side passed on me before they could give me a chance to be heard.

So, have you ever been married to late Marshal the Dukes?

No, never. I am married to James Hardon Kalinde. God has blessed us with two children, James Jnr and Brian. Kalindee is my husband’s name, my maiden name is Jumbe.

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