Malawi president Peter Mutharika has come under fire for being a patron of a cultural group that promotes practices that have been described as constituting child pornography and child sexual abuse likened to the conduct by Eric Aniva, the self-confessed HIV-positive ‘hyena’ who was having sex with girls as young as 12.
One of Malawi’s renowned writers said Mutharika’s order to have Aniva charged of defilement is baffling because the president supports the reed dance by Mulhako wa Alhomwe, a cultural grouping that the president serves as a patron.
“Despite being a patron of Mulhako wa Alhomwe, Mutharika has never opposed the reed dance in which children and young people are forced to dance with their bare breasts. That is not only indecent exposure, but it is child pornography in accordance with international laws. As the professor of law, Mutharika knows this.”
The writer said, like Eric Aniva’s cultural practice that has seen him sleep with girls during initiation ceremonies, “The mulhako wa alhomwe’s reed dance has historically been used to sell and market these innocent children as mature for sex or marriage. This is why you have gondolosi (local Viagra) being sold at the at the mulhako festival. This is the same charm that Aniva said he takes before sleeping with the girls. The connection is just enormous.”
The commentator who pleaded with the publication not to be named over fears that he could be persecuted by the current administration if he were identified told Malawi24 that it’s baffling that Mutharika condones such a practice while portraying himself as a saint to have Aniva nabbed.
“May be President Mutharika is also waiting for the BBC to describe the reed dance as child pornography. If you defend the reed dance as a culture, then since Aniva also sleeps with children and other young girls in the name of culture, maybe he should be released without any charge. If not, Mutharika should also be charged for being an accomplice who has attended events that embrace child pornography. If you say those girls who dance are not forced to bare their breasts at such events, then you should also know that the girls Aniva slept with were not forced but knew that it was expected of to have sex with that man by their culture as a sign of coming of age,” he said.
He concluded by describing Mutharika as a hyena: “In my opinion, I consider Mutharika as the worst hyena than Aniva. Not only is APM (Mutharika) the president who is supposed to ensure that children are protected but he is also the professor of law who is well aware that this dance is child pornography because the president know child sexual abuse does not always entail penetrative sex. May be next time we have Mulhako wa Alhomwe, the President should allow First Lady Madam Gertrude Mutharika to bare her breasts and dance with Hon. Atupele Muluzi, can you see the irony,” he posed in reference to an image that showed someone who looks like Atupele Muluzi dancing with an under aged girl.
The reed dance is practiced among the Ngoni in Central and Northern region. Other tribes in Malawi practice either chokolo, kulowa kufa, or mitala (polygamy).