‘Bingu’s govt receiving money on the backs of gays’

Despite derogatory language towards donors on homosexual rights and unfounded allegations that NGOsare getting funded on the backs of homosexuals, President Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration is the one receiving funds from donors and implementing gay activities, The Nation has revealed.

The exact amount government has received for gay activities is unclear, but the US Embassy in Lilongwe last week said over $70 million (about K11.7 billion at the current K167 exchange rate) of US Government bilateral funding to Malawi in 2010 went to the fight against HIV and Aids and that a fraction of that money went to MSM activities.

Section 156 of the Penal Code states: “Any male person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another male person, procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male shall be guilty of a felony and be liable to imprisonment for five years with or without corporal punishment.”

Ntaba: Sanctioning survey does not make homosexuality legal

Meanwhile, it has also been reported that an unnamed official from the OPC’s Department of Nutrition, HIV and Aids was among the Malawi delegation which attended a workshop on homosexuals in Johannesburg, South Africa, from February 14 to 16.

In addition, US Embassy public sections officer Benjamin Canavan confirmed to The Nation that the US and other donors are currently supporting Capital Hill to conduct a national population size estimation of homosexuals within three urban settings and three rural districts. Canavan said the survey was being done in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Chikhwawa, Mangochi and Nkhata Bay.

He said the exercise was completed in Blantyre whereas in other areas, it is expected to end in October this year.

Recently, chiefs drawn nationwide to meet Mutharika at Sanjika Palace reiterated that Malawi cannot accept same sex marriages to please donors who are withholding aid to the country.

Presidential spokesperson Dr Hetherwick Ntaba said sanctioning the survey does not make homosexuality legal in the country.

Ntaba also said that the government cannot be blamed of hypocrisy because although prostitution is also illegal in Malawi, Capital Hill ensures that prostitutes are not discriminated against in terms of health services.

Some analysts have concluded that the government’s outreach to MSMs could be a matter of survival.

Malawi has in recent years struggled to qualify for Global Fund money because proposal evaluators said it was not doing enough to support the gay population.

Others allege that although the government wants to be seen publicly as anti-gay, it is in fact in the forefront of this practice that is not commonly heard of and illegal in Malawi.

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