Disrobing women in public is a crime

It is heartening that other than the lone voices of agreement and the perpetrators of the recent ‘national crime’ of disrobing women in public, there has been a resounding chorus that Malawians will not allow that women be publicly humiliated by forcing them to be naked in public.

The President of the Republic, Bingu wa Mutharika and his archi-nemesis and Vice President of the Republic, Joyce Banda, for the first time in years now, agreed that the country should never allow the abuse of women as had occurred recently. To all of us, I think, when Joyce and Bingu speak the same language, the matter is serious indeed and has crossed the usual trivia these guys disagree about.

Although it is our responsibility after all to condemn that which must be condemned, let me congratulate the President and the Vice President for condemning such cruelty that some of the men-folk engaged in. An important slip in judgment needs to be highlighted though: this is when Mrs Joyce Banda suggested that the disrobing of women was because people were dissatisfied with the (political, economical and governance) issues facing the country.

We need to be clear that no matter how much there is no forex in the banks (and may be only available among the few businessmen suitcases flying out from Kamuzu International Airport), no matter how much empty your fuel tank can be, no matter how much you are referred to as chickens, no matter how much Iblis (the Arabic term for a being that became Satan) sits on your back, no matter how much the DPP wants Peter Mutharika (some people call him Peter wa Mutharika), no matter how much the State President does not care about the Vice President, all these and more are no justification for forcing women to be naked in public. There is just no reason at all for the actions that some of the criminals did to Malawian women.

Having said the above let me also state that I am not so naive as to think that the crimes against all of us and especially the women who were victimized, happened by chance. There is certainly a cause. I do not have the expertise I think to start exploring what may have caused the incidents in our cities. For me the events did not just make sense.

Even if we were to accept that some women had dressed inappropriately, but then it does not follow that a solution to such a situation is to remove even the small piece of cloth that was covering them. Secondly, I do not know what joy one would have seeing a naked woman in public, on the streets. Because I do not understand the reasoning, I suggest there is a reason for such stupidity, never justification.

Ladies and Gentlemen, is it wrong for me to ask the government (whoever that person is) to do some serious soul-searching why the hooligans we are talking about here had the audacity to claim that there were acting on behalf of the government? Why did they believe that we would also believe that the government was behind this?

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