Malawi Churches want dress code for citizens: Speaks out on prostitution, gays

Leaders of Malawi’s biggest Christian church movement, the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC),  has proposed to government  to address the general ‘code of dress’ amongst Malawians to ensure that local culture and sensibilities are respected.

The Council has voiced their proposal in a communiqué on current “contemporary issues” affecting Malawi.

“The Council has noted with regret the degenerating and sometimes immoral dressing of the people, where some move around almost naked, with dropped trousers in men and bare breasted in women as some of the examples, despite our rich spiritual and cultural values,” reads the communiqué made available to Nyasa Times after MCC’s annual conference.

The MCC which has new leadership  with Blantyre Synod top priest, Reverend Alex Maulana at the helm, said it has  noted that “men use women’s dressing/clothes including earings and go as far as braiding their hair.”

It said: “The basis of freedoms of fundamental rights originates from God – in Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve were guided by God on what to and not to eat. Freedoms and rights must not override responsibilities.”

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MCC asked government to address the issue by putting up a dress code so that Malawians should dress modestly.

When Malawi attained democracy a decade ago, it repealed “indecency in dress” laws, but mobs of men and boys recently were publicly stripping women of their miniskirts and pants.

Prostitution

The Church body also reacted to the news that about 20 000 sex workers have united to fight harassment and improve access to health care, launching a registered alliance.

The grouping – backed by local and international non-governmental organisations – is the first formal alliance of sex workers in Malawi, where prostitution is  illegal.

The churches says it “categorically condemn the allowing of Biblically sinful, constitutionally prohibited, and culturally disparaged acts and associations.”

It said: “Prostitution is both sinful in the light of God and prohibited by the laws of Malawi and therefore the Malawi Council of Churches appeal to government to abide by the Penal Code which criminalizes prostitution.”

Adds the statement: “The Bible says ‘do not commit adultery’ Ex. 20:6 and the Council upholds this divine commandment and believes sanctioning of prostitution is wrong and misguided even under democracy.”

But Mary Kumbweza Banda, who chairs the National Aids Commission, said empowering sex workers, could spell “high condom use increased HIV testing, screening for diseases and increased access to anti-retroviral therapy”.

Porno

The men of God also tackled the issue of pornographic firms, photos and materials published and circulated through the media “which tends to threaten and spoil our Christian values, tradition and culture.”

Pornographic materials are illegal in Malawi and anyone found in possession of them is subjected to criminal prosecution.

Recently, Malawians have been exchanging on internet nude photos of Malawian female said to be a bank employee.

There are also many porn materials that Malawians are sending to each other on WhatsApp, the extremely popular instant messaging service for smartphones.

Same-sex liaisons

MCC further denounced attempt by Malawi government, saying other than being a donor-fearing nation, Malawi is a God-fearing country, and as such, continues to uphold that “homosexuality and therefore sodomy cannot be part and parcel of the acceptable norms of our society.”

The Council further expresses that it maintains its stand against any gay practices as they are “biblically sinful, morally unhealthy and divinely against God’s nature.”

“The Council is equally concerned that where homosexuality is made legal as some few non-governmental organizations and individuals are demanding, the issue of Sodomy, which is another serious sinful act, will threaten the health and spiritual well-being of inmates in Malawi’s reformation centers or prisons.”

“We uphold that any right that is outside God’s authority could lead us to death. “

The Church body said “minority rights must not be prioritized over all other rights, especially when they offer no common good to the larger interests of the people.”

The Council has 24 Christian Member Churches across the country and 12 para-Church organisations/affiliates.

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