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Women back Callista Mutharika

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Some influential women have thrown their weight behind former first lady, Callista Mutharika, days after she endorsed Vice- President Saulos Chilima and dismissed President Peter Mutharika, saying he cannot win the presidential election next year.

She said President Mutharika was too old to contest in the next election and accused leaders around him of misleading and confusing her in-law.

Her remarks irked loyalists in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who have since described her as a sellout.

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But social commentator, Emily Mkamanga, has lauded her as a brave and courageous woman.

She said, without regard to Callista’s past status as first lady, she is a citizen of this country who is entitled to freedom of speech, like all Malawians.

Mkamanga said it is very encouraging for someone to rebuke leadership of a party while serving in it.

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“Everybody has independent thoughts, the former first lady inclusive. To me, she has done a good job; in fact, it is very encouraging [that she has come out] and the message that she is putting across is that she is very courageous…” Mkamanga said, when asked to comment on the former first lady’s comments

Mkamanga said what the first lady has done should serve as a lesson to Malawians that they should not sit back and watch when things are not going well.

Women Legal Resource Centre Executive Director, Maggie Kathewera Banda, said threats on Callista’s person are a violation of human rights.

Kathewera Banda said Mutharika may be living in fear as she does not know what will befall her.

“That is psychological violence; her movements will definitely be restricted because she does not know what those intimidating her are preparing. Apparently, there is a voice note that is circulating on social media, saying she [Callista Mutharika] will be injected with an injection meant for dogs! What is that?” she wondered.

“That is violence on its own though it is not physical. The fact is she will be living in fear. She made an opinion, which she is entitled to. Equally those who are concerned could also issue their opinion based on her sentiments,” she said.

Another gender rights activist, Emma Kaliya of NGO Gender Coordination Network said Mutharika is free to express herself.

Writing on her Facebook page, Margaret Mbilizi Sawerengera defended the former first lady, saying she has spoken out for justice and fairness.

Meanwhile, the Association of Former Members of Parliament Monday condemned the continued harassment and threats being issued against the former first lady.

“It is [a recorded voice that has gone viral] clearly saying that they are ready to have her dealt with and [are committed to] bringing her days to the end where they are asserting that timupatsa jakisoni wa agalu without elaborating.

“As it is known, this country has its past since independence where mysterious deaths have occurred and [followed by] the government not making any efforts to bring the culprits to book…” reads the statement, signed by Ronald Chithyola Chanthunya.

The association further says it is not appropriate to threaten those who are raising their voices for the voiceless by bringing out issues that concern Malawians.

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