Leader of opposition in parliament Lazarus Chakwera has criticised the state for dropping charges against two gays, saying suspension of homosexual laws should be approved by parliament.
Chakwera said this after minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu said the state has dropped homosexual charges against Cuthbert Kulemeka, 19 and Kelvin Gonani who were charged with an offence of having sex against the order of nature, a charge which attracted a maximum of 14 years imprisonment with hard laour. ”
This is a very serious issue which needed to be tabled in parliament. Government on ts own should not have suspended the laws,” Chakwera said on am interview with a local radio station on Monday.
Leader of New Labour Party Sam Mpasu said it was unfortunate that powerful rich nations find it easy to pressurise weak poor nations like Malawi on issues like homosexuality leaving out other powerful rich nations.
“They cannot do this to countries like Saudi Arabia who have tougher laws on sexuality than Malawi. Malawi is their easy prey,” said Mpasu .
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and the American and German embassies in Malawi had condemned the mens’ arrest.
Mpasu said the government was in very difficult situation to appease conservative Malawians who are against homosexuality on one hand and appease the powerful donor countries who gives Malawi the much needed aid money.
Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu has said government has suspended anti-gay laws pending a vote on whether to revoke the legislation.
“We are responding to the concerns that people have had that we have breached our international obligation, so people complained, especially the international community,” said Tembenu.
According to political scientist Boniface Dulani of the University of Malawi, the moratorium on anti-gay laws, despite its compliance with international norms, comes at a political cost in a country where, polls indicate, disapproval of homosexuality is the norm.
“If you look at survey numbers, you see that up to 95 percent of Malawians disapprove of homosexuality,” said Dulani. “This decision … [can] cost the government some political support.”
The government tried to strike a balance Saturday releasing a statement saying is “committed” to reviewing the anti-homosexuality law but with “consultations with the people of Malawi.”
The public has resisted two previous attempts to change the homosexuality law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :