The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor for the South, Charles Mchacha, is an overzealous man who is trying badly to impress his master Peter Mutharika and his party. Mchacha, needs lessons in public speaking and choice of words. He has been slut-shaming women, whose only crime is associating with his party’s opponents. In other words, all women who are not in DPP, but with other parties, are ‘mahule’ (whores).
The first time I heard Mchacha speak was years back when the former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika appointed him as the ‘figurehead’ deputy minister of Finance. This was almost the same time Mchacha was sitting his Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), but since the country had gone to the dogs, then, this did not stop Bingu from putting Mchacha as the second in-charge of the country’s purse.
Then a reporter called to cross-check whether, indeed, Mchacha was sitting for MSCE and his response, that has stuck with me, was: “There is there is, chilipo chilipo. Akutumani”. Just weeks ago, at a rally in Mulanje, Mchacha was at it again, slut-shaming women, especially those belonging to the United Transformation Movement (UTM). He called them mahule (whores). And the women in DPP clapped, ululated and laughed their lungs out.
Mchacha repeated slut-shaming women on Wednesday at Comesa Trade Fair Ground in Blantyre, in the presence of the President, foreign dignitaries and Malawians from all corners. He, in trying to prove his worth to the party, called, again, all women in UTM mahule (whore or prostitutes).
He emphasised that being a whore is one of the criteria for joining UTM. And the President and the First lady, Gertrude Mutharika, laughed while DPP women ululated as men giggled. Seemingly satisfied, Mchacha paused to allow the laughter to die down. Mchacha calling women prostitutes in the presence of a high-ranking party official and the country’s President, was the highest symbol of approval he got for his loudmouth.
I don’t know what unresolved issues the DPP and Mchacha have against UTM and its leadership, but calling women prostitutes for exercising their political right to join and associate with a party of their choice is, for lack of a better word, nonsense.
In 2016, former president Joyce Banda complained about how women who decide to serve their people through political positions are scandalised and called all sorts of names. JB is one such woman who throughout her political career has been scandalised thrown in the mud, but in true spirit and the strength of a woman, she has not given in to people like Mchacha.
People like Mchacha need to be reprimanded by their parties and any well-meaning Malawian. Insulting women will not give you more votes. If anything, it will reduce your chances of winning. What people want to hear are not loudmouths, but issues.
Right now, the national discourse is about encouraging women to meaningfully participate in politics—not just as mere dancers.
Mchacha and men like him, are scaring women away from participating in politics. The tendencies turning women’s sexuality into a weapon against them must stop.