A woman teased by two children for wearing a tight and improper pair of trousers that exposed almost half her buttocks was the cause of sexual harrassment actions that spurred throughout the Malawi last week. The chaos left almost six women dressed in trousers stripped and several others roughed up on Tuesday in the capital, Lilongwe.
Some vendors who witnessed the incident on Wednesday said that the fracas started Tuesday morning at Chinsapo market in the cityÃ¢â‚¬â€ where an unidentified woman dressed provocatively had bent over to make a call at a private telephone bureau and was exposing her underwearÃ¢â‚¬â€a G-string panties.
The vendors who buy second hand clothes from Tsoka Flea Market for resale along the streets said when the woman bent she exposed her buttocks which annoyed many people.
One street kid rushed and pulled her G-string panties, inciting many people to join him harassing the woman.
They said when the incident was narrated in town by people from Chinsapo the same morning it turned out to be the top discussion among vendors, minibus touts and other town mongers. It therefore spread to other cities.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We heard the scandal when we arrived in town on Tuesday morning from some people who were coming from Chinsapo. A few minutes later while we were buying clothes inside the flea market, we heard a big uproar and when we rushed there, we found that people were chasing women wearing trousers,Ã¢â‚¬Â said one vendor.
The development has forced the marketÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s executive to announce its plans to remove all urchins and those who have no identity to show their endeavours.
The marketÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s publicity secretary Boniface Chinkanda said non vending personnel were destroying the vendorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ image.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have already investigated all that and we have found out that it was not vendors but a group of people who have nothing to do in town and pretend to be vendors. We have received enough insults by being painted black and now we are going to take action.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our community policing will work with the police to ensure that all people doing businesses in town should have identities stating what they do. Any person without an ID will be forced out of town,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Chinkanda.
The episode has spoilt business for the vendors following womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disappointment which has made them boycott purchasing goods from vendors.
Central Region Police public relations officer John Namalenga confirmed on Wednesday that vendors are innocent of the incident that happened at the capitalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s central market. He said all people arrested during the fracas failed to identify their business endeavours.
MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s President, some influential women, human rights activists and government have condemned perpetrators of the incident.
At a sit in held on Friday organised by women in Blantyre, a representative of Blantyre vendors was booed by women who felt that he needed to apologise and explain what the vendors were doing to ensure that the harassment does not happen again.
One woman who was victimised said that vendors harassed her in Limbe and she had to run into a shop. She identified the men that harassed her as hardware vendors.