Malawi President Joyce Banda on Wednesday ordered an end to public criticism of any woman on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) radio and television, saying these erode oneâ€™s dignity and respect.
Banda was speaking at a consultative meeting on the African Women Decade: 2010-2020 under the theme â€˜Grass roots Approval to Gender Equality and Women Empowermentâ€™.
Politicians have used the public media to castigate each other when at loggerheads. Banda herself was a victim of such public condemnation from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), particularly the time she was kicked out of it alongside her Vice-President Khumbo Kachali.
In her brief speech at the end of a programme that took the entire afternoon, Banda said time had come when insulting a fellow woman should be sinful.
Charged Banda: “Never again will a TV station and radio scandalise our women and show our children dirty things. These children have seen too much. TV is for every Malawian. Our children hear things said about some of us. They get discouraged and lose interest in politics.
“Women of this nation deserve better. Women have contributed a lot. They deserve respect and should also respect men and their husbands if they are to get any support from them”.
Banda brought representatives of her Joyce Banda Foundation for Education from primary and secondary schools to the function which she said was aimed at showing that individuals were capable of making a difference in the livesâ€™ of other women if only they are supported.
She also brought along representatives of Market Women Activities in Development (Mwai) project under the same foundation. The project comprises women in various business and humanitarian activities.
Other activities included speeches form a cross-section of women that included African Union (AU) director of women affairs Litha Ogama; Emma Kaliya of NGO Gender Coordinating Network; Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank Mary Nkosi; Parliamentary Women Caucas chairperson Christina Chiwoko; a representative of the Joyce Banda Foundation, Edith Akride; Gender, Children and Community Development Minister Reen Kachere.
Ogama gave a background of the African Women Decade whose objective she said was to re-invigorate commitments to accelerated implementation of agreed global and regional commitments of gender equality and women empowerment (Gewe).
Kaliya, who is also chairperson of the national decade committees, said that since its launch in November 2010 in the country, little had been done.