Chaponda says DPP to oppose legalising homosexuality

Former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says it will not support moves to repeal laws that criminalises homosexual acts.

President Joyce Banda announced on Friday in Parliament her government’s plans to repeal a number of laws that have made Malawi into a pariah state, from its ban on homosexuality to broad police powers of search and arrest, to a law that allows cabinet ministers to shut down newspapers.

But leader of DPP in the august House, Dr George Chaponda, said  the party will not support the repealing of the laws especially on the same sex marriage at any cost, saying the President’s directive tend to overlook the Constitutional  role of the Law Commission “to review and make recommendations relating  to the repeal and amendment of  laws”.

Chaponda,  a trained lawyer, was making a responded to the State of the Nation address said the  procedure adopted by the DPP administration of referring the repressive laws to the Law Commission was “appropriate and in keeping with the powers of the Law Commission provided in the Constitution. ”

Chaponda: We would rather be poor than have man marry another man or woman marry another woman

The former Justice Minister said most of the  laws which are the subject for repeal had emanated from the Law Commission.

“Before the law was passed by the National Assembly, the Law Commission had produced a report based on their consultation with all the relevant stake holders,” Chaponda claimed.

“Having produced the report,  the Ministry of Justice drafted the Bill which was examined by the  Cabinet and  subsequently Gazetted for twenty eight days before the Bill was introduced in Parliament.  While in Parliament, the Bill was debated and in some cases referred to the Legal Affairs Committee for further scrutiny and thereafter brought back into the house for debate.

The PhD law graduate of reputable  Yale University in United State of America explained that if the laws were sent to the Law Commission, the process would have commenced by the Law Commission of interviewing various  stakeholders at one point or another.

“ We hope that such law and others on the list  will be thoroughly debated in the House according to our procedures as they contain some legislation that is good for the country,” said.

Chaponda said legislators “should be very careful that the process is not dictated by donors. “

He said  the  provision of same sex marriages is “strongly opposed by almost all Malawians including those in the present Government.”

Said Chaponda: “ We are therefore surprised and shocked that the President has decided that this stance should be reconsidered.”

He added: “ Let us state once again that not all donor dictates are in the best interest of Malawi.  There are some cases where we would rather remain poor than adopt wholesale what the donors force us to  accept”

Chaponda grabbed headlines when he was Minister of Justice when he said government would  introduce a new bill, which would criminalise flatulence to promote “public decency” but later withdrew the statement.

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