MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Gender Minister Reen Kachere, Deputy Agriculture Minister Margaret Roka Mauwa and other ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) MPs put aside politics and joined opposition politicians to condemn the attack on women.
Human rights activists led by Women and Law in Southern Africa national coordinator Seodi White and some concerned citizens in Blantyre organised the meeting to speak against this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disgusting attacks on women in Lilongwe and Mzuzu on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
The women also had full support of men who put their office work aside for this cause and they included bank managers, medical doctors, lawyers led by Malawi Law Society (MLS) president John-Gift Mwakhwawa and politicians such as UDFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Atupele Muluzi.
Dr Ngeyi Kanyongolo of the University of MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chancellor College (Chanco), one of the speakers, wondered why 18 years later after attaining the hard won democracy, women should be subjected to this humiliating attack.
Kanyongolo said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Is this 2012? Is this not 1992 or 93? I was there in 1990s when Dr Kamuzu Banda came in public and said from now; I have removed the Dress Act. This is a law that restricted women from wearing trousers and miniskirts.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why should we face these attacks 18 years later when there is a law that allows us dress the way we want? Where was police when this happened? Where were our MPs? We do not allow this to happen again. We say no to this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kanyongolo said perpetrators of the attacks should face the law for indecency and insulting the modesty of a woman.
Almost all the speakers urged Malawians to boycott buying vendorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ merchandise as a strong message that women are angry with what happened.
Dr Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, who was in the fore front of academic freedom battle last year, said what happened was shameful and against the laws of Malawi.
Kabwila-Kapasula said the barbaric act was as if to tell the women they are not Malawians yet they are bona fide citizens of this nation.
The Chanco lecturer said if anyone wanted to change laws on Dress Code, there are proper procedures available through their MPs.
Kabwila-Kapasula, who was applauded, said there were more pressing issues affecting the nation that Malawians needed not to waste time debating what women should wear.
She said men have always dressed the way they want, including wearing muscle-showing vests but they have never been bothered by women.
He said women have bodies they have to be proud of and with the freedom of dress, they must be allowed to dress the way they want.
Kabwila-Kapasula urged women politicians that attended the event not to allow men to use them to oppress their fellow women.
She also said women were proud of those women in high positions and urged them to be vigilant. She said they have gone through a lot in their lives and have to stand up in defence of womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rights.
General secretary of Vendors Association in Blantyre Flea Market, Fanizo Makumba, was booed off the stage when, in his speech, he distanced vendors from the barbaric act and appealed to Malawians not to stop buying from them.
There was a strong protest from the beginning that Makumba should not be given a chance to address the gathering but it had to take organisers of the event to plead with the women to allow him address them because he was invited.
But almost immediately he grabbed the microphone, he was told off the stage when he started defending the vendors. He also touched a raw nerve when he said he came not to apologise because vendors did not attack the women, and he embarrassingly left when angry women put up a strong protest.
White said earlier Malawi is sweet home for everyone and women were prepared to fight for what belongs to them. She said no one would silence them and appealed to all women to be free in their sweet motherland.
The activist said Malawi is known outside as a peaceful nation but she felt not respected, demeaned and insulted when she heard news that women were being undressed by vendors and she wondered which part of Malawi this was.
Meanwhile, some women reportedly sought shelter at Blantyre Police after the peaceful protests following threats they received for singing songs and Ã¢â‚¬Å“paradingÃ¢â‚¬Â before vendors.
An eye-witness said he saw the unit surrounded by vendors who accused the women of provoking them as police dispersed them.
Blantyre Police assistant public relations officer Lameck Thembachako confirmed that the women ran to the police unit after receiving threats but said they were only kept there for their safety.
He said a minibus was called and they boarded it from the police unit.