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Joyce Banda urges Peter Mutharika to engage South Africa on Florence Chathyoka’s death

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BY REBECCA CHIMJEKA:

Former president, Joyce Banda, has said President Peter Mutharika must engage his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, on the murder of businessperson, Florence Chathyoka, at Beitbridge in South Africa last week.

Banda was one of the thousands of people who, on Friday, attended the funeral of Chathyoka in Area 22 in Lilongwe.

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Some of the people present were Banda’s husband, retired chief justice Richard Banda and Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s wife, Mary.

Banda said Mutharika should take up the matter and talk to Ramaphosa over how Malawian traders are being victimised at Beitbridge.

“Women must be safe everywhere, on the street, walking through a park, in their homes and at work. We need to ensure that we have a culture of respect for women,” Banda said.

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She said all women traders should be able to go anywhere in the Southern African Development Community countries.

Chathyoka was killed on Sunday while on her way from Malawi to South Africa when an unknown person followed her to the bus and grabbed her bag. As she tried to fight for it and screamed for help, the assailant stabbed her.

The incident has sent shockwaves to the country’s cross-border business community and sparked vital conversations about gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, Central Region Smallholder Business Association Chairperson, Thawero Makako, said Chathyoka had been a target of thugs since last year.

“This is the second time something of a similar nature happened to her at the same place. That time, they only showed her a gun and stole her money,” Makako said.

He urged government to take the matter seriously and ensure that security agencies of the two countries work together so that the culprit should face the law.

In an interview on Saturday, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is already in talks with the government of South Africa on the issue.

“Government is already handling the issue. And Joyce Banda, as a former president, should know how such issues are handled. She can’t tell the President what to do,” Dausi said.

However, National Police James Kadzadzera Monday said police are still investigating the matter and, as of yesterday, there was no report yet on whether the culprit had been arrested or not.

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