LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Police in Lilongwe released on bail Beatrice Mateyo who they had arrested for flashing a placard that they deemed ‘illegal’ during a pro-women demo.
The arrest took place on the sidelines of the mass demonstration on spate of violence against women that took place in Lilongwe on Thursday.
The police arrested Beatrice Mateyo after the placard she carried which attracted divergent comments on social media.
The placard in question was handwritten with explicit mention of women private parts in both Chichewa and English.
The Placard said: Kubadwa ndi nyini sitchimo: My pussy my pride. (Being born with a vagina is no sin, my pussy my pride.)
This prompted Inspector General of Police (IG) Lexten Kachama to order the removal of the placard an order that ended up seeing Mateyu being taken to Lingadzi police station in Area 18 for questioning.
The development however angered organisers of the demonstration invading the police station to demand the release of Beatrice.
In an exclusive interview wit the Maravi Post after the release on bail, Mateyu said was surprised to see the police acting strange on the placard saying it defined the whole course of the marching.
She added that will continue expressing her views on how some misguided men take some as object.
“I don’t regret of carrying that placard. It carried the message that we want the nation to take women as human beings,” said Mateyu.
Parliamentary women caucus chairperson Dr. Jessie Kabwila who was at the station to force the police for the release of Beatrice expressed shock at the conduct f the law enforcers accusing them of failing to understand the laws of the land.
Dr. Kabwila who is also a member of Parliament for Salima North- West said the incident just showed how the nation is not ready to protect women.
The lawmaker added that the demonstration aimed at giving a clear message violence against women which the police even did amid the same course.
But IG Kachama defended the decision arguing that the placard was demeaning women.
The police chief added that he called the officers who were providing security at the demonstrations to remove the said placard and let the demonstration continue without the one carrying obscene message-placard.
“It was too much, it was demeaning to women. Anakhala ngati awavula azimayi onse (It was like all the women were undressed). We cannot allow that,” said Kachama.
The demonstrations come in the wake of shocking cases of gender based violence against women such as the stabbing to death of a 30 year old Lilongwe woman by her ex-boyfriend.
High profile people who participated in the demonstrations included Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya, human rights activists and members of the diplomatic community.
The demo which started from Area 18 roundabout through parliament and Capital Hill roundabout, to Lilongwe City Council offices was led by Chairperson for Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, Jessie Kabwila who, during one of the stopovers of the march, branded the GBV perpetrators as cowards who are scared of successful and independent women and thus shield their cowardice through physical violence.
She said: “Let’s get each other clear here: This demonstration is not against men. It is a demonstration of our disapproval against the barbaric acts of gender based violence against women which are perpetrated by cowards who in turn, are tarnishing the good image of this country’s civilized men.”
Kabwila also refreshed the sorrowful memories of the women who had been killed through GBV, including that of late Miriam Siula who was viciously stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend for allegedly having refused to get back into relationship with him.
“As concerned citizens, we are in deep shock with the recent death of a young woman; late Miriam Siula who was murdered by her ex-partner in Chilinde. There have also been many cases of Gender Based Violence in form of physical abuses through brutal beatings of wives by their husbands who unfortunately are our own law enforcers,” reads part of the petition which has been presented to the Ministry of Gender, Disability and Social Welfare.
The activists have since demanded, through the petition, that among others, all teachers who engage in any form of gender based violence must be fired by their respective institutions.
“We call upon the Head of State to issue a statement as the HE for She Ambassador to condemn gender based violence in all its forms,” reads one of the demands in the petition.
The petition was received by Deputy Minister for Gender, Clement Mbukwa, who promised to submit it to the relevant authorities for relevant action.