Human rights campaigner Timothy Mtambo has said Malawi was founded on secular pillars of democracy and is not a Christian nation therefore calls by religious leaders for government to outlaw homosexuality is irrelevant and misplaced.
Mtambo, who heads the vocal Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), said people should distinguish sin from crime.
A crime is a violation of criminal law, a sin is a violation of religious law or belief.
“Let the state run the affairs of the nation based on democratic principles and human rights not on church doctrines,” said Mtambo.
He said whilst religious leaders may view homosexuality as a sin before God, the Republican Constitution, to the contrary respects rights of everybody including the minority gays and lesbians.
He therefore said homosexuality is not a crime in Malawi therefore religious leaders and their followers should respect this.
Mtambo said the government should not be forced to mix up between sin and crime, saying Malawi is a secular state.
Catholic bishops and other religious leaders including Muslims have been urging President Peter Mutharika not to give in on donors’ pressure to allow homosexuality.
However, there is a heated debate on social media outlets and comments posted on Nyasa Times on the matter with some asking why church leaders are taking homosexuality as the worst sin more than prostitution, theft or envy which are clearly spelt out in the Biblical 10 commandments.
When asked why he was promoting rights of gays in Malawi when he was heterosexual himself, Gift Trapence of Centre for Development of People hit back: “You don’t need to be a child to be a rights activist, you don’t need to be a prostitute to be an activist of prostitutes, you don’t need to be a woman to be a rights activist of women.”
Government says there are 40000 gays in Malawi but most of them operate underground in fear of discrimination or threats to their lives.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :