The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has summoned DPP regional governor (South) Charles Mchacha for alleged gender-based violence.
While falling short of summoning the alleged perpetrators, the Parliamentary Women Caucus has also joined those condemning Mchacha’s public ridicule of legislator Patricia Kaliati and others.
In an interview with The Nation yesterday, MHRC executive secretary David Nungu confirmed the summoning, saying although they understand that there is intraparty conflict and that hate speeches are not new, going beyond hate speech is unacceptable, especially to women at a time the country is advocating 50-50 women participation in politics.
“You know the major reason that there are a few women in politics is due to things like these; demeaning them and giving them all sorts of names in public. By pouring insults and calling Kaliati names in public, Mchacha crossed the lines and the commission says that’s unacceptable.
“It’s the violation of the right to peace and human dignity because the insults were done in public. One way which must be different from other interventions is to engage the parties to try as much as possible to ensure a ceasefire to bring peace,” he said.
Nungu further said MHRC is expecting to meet all concerned parties within the week as the letters to summon them have been sent already.
He called on all political parties to refrain from hate speech and promote women participation in politics as the country draws near the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
During a public rally in Mulanje addressed by President Peter Mutharika, Mchacha told the rally that Mulanje Mulanje Pasani legislator Angie Kaliati married a follish woman.
In vernacular Mchacha said: “Ndaona pompano a Kaliati a amuna ali pompano taimani anthu akuoneni, nthawi zina munthu umatha kukwatira chitsiru chokumwa madzi ometera.”
The attack on the DPP director of women follows her endorsement of Vice-President Saulos Chilima as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, The Parliamentary Women Caucus has said failure by Mutharika to condemn the statement made in his presence as a champion for He-for-She campaign, portrays that more needs to be done if the 50-50 representation of women in politics is to be achieved.
Chairperson for the Caucus, Jessie Kabwila, said yesterday it is shocking that a ruling party can allow its members to insult women and demean them in public despite DPP signing a commitment to protect the dignity of women and promote them to participate in politics.
Said Kabwila: “We are shocked by what he said. It is worrying us because it’s just last month that DPP signed for 50-50 campaign and it is shocking that someone makes such remark about a woman in public; it is not just a woman, but a female MP who is also a high profile politician.
“If they can do this to her, what more [can they do] to young women who want to join politics? We have said this over and over again that the main problem for women participation in politics is the degrading remarks we get every day. Our parties need to know this.”
She further said being a ruling party, DPP could have shown confidence in women, but the remarks have taken away the hope they had, calling for the secretary general of the party and the President to discipline or publicly condemn Mchacha.
Efforts to talk to DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey proved futile as her assistant kept answering the phone, saying her boss was at a rally with the President who was conducting whistle-stop tours in the Southern Region.