The appointment of former boxing champion Mike Tyson as Malawi’s Cannabis Brand Ambassador continues to generate mixed reactions as witnessed on Wednesday in the National Assembly.
The issue rose during presentation of a statement on 16 days of activism against gender based violence in Malawi aimed at raising awareness and consolidate initiatives aimed at ending the vice by Minister of Gender Patricia Kaliati.
Chikwawa north parliamentarian Owen Chomanika questioned the choice of Mike Tyson listed as a sex offender in Arizona and another state in the United States of America as the country’s Cannabis Ambassador.
The legislator argued that the former US boxing star is partly seen as a symbol of violence and queried his choice as Malawi’s Cannabis Ambassador.
The Gender Minister backed the decision explaining that government made consultations before settling for the choice of Tyson in the role.
She indicated that in Tyson they see a person who has the business acumen and can ably market the commodity and Malawi’s potential in the venture.
“We are going to kill two birds with one stone; the Cannabis business in USA but also the tourism part of it because he is now going to sell for Malawi and also to sell Cannabis and people are also going to do business, economically we’re going to be there.
“After all he’s not in cell answering for those charges but he was cleared, so he’s a free person. So it doesn’t mean that if one is being involved in a car accident and is disabled, then he is not a human being; he’s a human being. Or a person is having a dent somewhere it doesn’t mean that he’s not cleared, that he is not smart it does mean that.
“So the people they are associating Tyson maybe to different things, he was cleared and the US and UN cleared him and even advised us that you can go forward. I don’t think there is any problem according to the international markets and global markets. So he’s going to sell Malawi globally not within US but globally as a person who is well known everywhere,” she said.
Kaliati noted that most people including parliamentarians have a past which they have been cleared on hence it’s not fair to bring issues from the past.