Mutharika must apologise – activists

Activists have called on President Peter Mutharika to publicly apologise to former President Joyce Banda for calling her a prostitute.

The Women’s Manifesto Movement (WOMAN) and other activists have issued the demand following Mutharika’s derogatory remarks during a whistle stop tour in Thyolo.

At Goliati in the district, Mutharika said Banda attempted to “export her prostitution from Lilongwe to China” when Banda was Foreign Minister in the Bingu wa Mutharika administration.

He suggested that Banda wanted to sleep with Bingu but he (Peter Mutharika) blocked her plan. Mutharika repeated the remarks at another stop during the tour.

The remarks have angered activists in Malawi with the Woman Manifesto Movement leading calls for Mutharika to apologise.

In a statement on Monday signed by the movement’s leaders Maggie Banda and Barbara Banda, Women’s Manifesto said the remarks are shocking and not expected to come from a leader and father of a nation.

“It is very disappointing to hear these insulting remarks from a Global HeForShe Champion who is expected to champion rights of women and girls.

“WOMAN regards this as a serious act of violence against women perpetrated by the very same leader who is supposed to defend and protect the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi,” the group said.

It then demanded an apology from Mutharika to Joyce Banda and said the apology should be through both public and private media.

On its part, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives – CDEDI said Mutharika has dragged the office of presidency “into a total disrepute”.

Twitter user @EdythK described Mutharika’s remarks as a sexist slur which should not be part of the campaign for the presidency.

“Women are equally deserving of the political spotlight, Don’t shut them up. Base campaign on issues,” she tweeted.