Business came to a standstill in the northern Malawi city of Mzuzu on Wednesday morning as vendors chased women dressed in trousers, miniskirts and leggings.
Probably taking a cue from thugs from MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capital, Lilongwe, who attacked women in trousers and miniskirts on Tuesday, Mzuzu vendors claimed they were following governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s order that all women who were improperly dressed be chased from the streets.
However, there are no reports that government made such an order.
Mzuzu Police public relations officer Edward Longwe, who was on the ground, said the vendors wanted to take advantage of women to start looting shops.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were tipped that these people would be attacking women to emulate their friends in Lilongwe. They are not following any order. They are jobless people and have nothing to do in town. They just want to take advantage of women and break shops so that they can start looting,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Longwe.
Women in Mzuzu, who included those of Asian origin, were forced to buy wrappers, take refuge in shops or board taxis to get out of town. Shop owners closed shops as the vendors followed women who took refuge in the shops.
Police also came to the rescue of the women by keeping them in their (police) vehicles.
One Asian lady, who wore trousers, was escorted by her employees to a shop where she bought a skirt. When she came out, vendors chanted Ã¢â‚¬ËœwatchenaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (you look good).
Some vendors raced buses, taxis and minibuses in town hunting for women who they claimed were Ã¢â‚¬ËœimproperlyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ dressed.
One of the vendors, John Maxwell, said women were destroying Malawian culture.