Centre for Development of the People (Cedep) which campaigns for rights for the Lesbians, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Inter-sex persons (LGBTI) community in Malawi has commended government for “embracing” homosexuality by requesting resources from The Global Fund for HIV and Aids interventions targeting the LGBTI community.
According to published report, Malawi has asked for $388 888 (about K180 million) from The Global Fund for Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV and Aids to support activities such as testing, counselling and treatment, condoms and prevention of risky behaviour programmes for the 38 734-strong Malawian homosexual population.
“We are commending the Government action to include [gays] in the Global fund proposal for funding. I think It is now a high time to stop being hypocrisy by being double faced. Some Government Ministers have been very homophobic by trying to demonise and ostricise sexual minorities (LGBTI) while on the other hand the same Government is endorsing HIV policies and Proposals to the Global seeking funding that also include sexual minorities programmes,” Cedep executive director Gift Trapence told Nyasa Times in an email.
Concept notes on HIV and TB programming, which the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) submitted to The Global Fund, state that Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) make up 1.84 percent of the male population in Malawi, according to newspaper report.
requesting funding for HIV programmes for 2015 to 2017, Malawi government state thar seven-site MSM HIV prevalence, socio-behavioural and population size estimation study released at the end of 2014 estimates MSM make up about 1.84 percent of the overall male population aged 20 to 39 years in Malawi or about 38 734 individuals.
Cedep boss told Nyasa Times that Malawi Government should show “real commitment” by translating its commitment into action.
“One worrying thing is that Malawi has progressive policies and on the other hand there are laws that acts as barriers in accessing services for sexual minoritities,” Trapence pointed out.
“It is government responsibility in making sure that all Malawians are able to enjoy the right to health [including gays]. That can only be achieved if all Malawians are able to receive non discriminatory services regardless of race, religious background, region, age ,gender, sexual orientation and other status. Hence the need to have laws that protect all people equally regardless of sexual orientation,” Cedep boss added.
Trapence argued that there is no problem with consenting adults of the same sex having sex in private.
Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi based on remnants of sodomy laws introduced during the British colonial to the Penal Code whose offences include “unnatural acts” and “buggery”.. The laws are perpetuated by cultural and religious beliefs.
In 2009 a gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were arrested and convicted 14 years for publicly wedding.
But former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned them following an outcry from the international community.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :