A Chancellor College law expert has asked the government either to scrap off gay laws or maintain them, saying its lack of decisiveness on the matter is confusing Malawians.
Law lecturer Professor Edge Kanyongolo said Malawi cannot rely on a moratorium, a written commitment by the government that it would not arrest and prosecute anyone engaged in homosexuals.
“If we want the law, let us enforce it, if we don’t want it, remove it, we should move on,” said Kanyongolo.
The respected law lecture said the government should be decisive on the matter.
Malawi a developing southern African nation, which is heavily reliant on support from international aid money, has said it has imposed a moratorium not to arrest and prosecute people for same-sex sexual acts – an agreement first laid out in 2012 after a prolonged campaign.
This follows the arrests of 19-year-old Cuthbert Kulemela and 39-year-old Kelvin Gonani on gay sex grounds.
Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu said the two have been released and all charges against them had been dropped, while a “moratorium” on gay sex convictions will be introduced to adhere to “universally accepted human rights standards”.
He added that the government acknowledges the viewpoint that no one should be arrested on the grounds of their sexuality or gender identity, and re-committed to reviewing the country’s anti-gay laws.
Gift Trapence, Executive director of a gay rights organisation, Centre for the Development of the People (Cedep) asked the government to scrap off all gay laws from the penal code.
The penal code provides a maximum of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour on homosexual which it described as sex against the order of nature.
Transpence has asked the ministry of Justice to sensitise other state departments like the police that laws on homosexuals are on suspension therefore no one can be arrested on homosexuality.
Tembenu said any law review would be carried out “in consultation with the people of Malawi as prescribed by the Constitution”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :