Malawi President Peter Mutharika has been accused of applying attention-diversion tactics from real issues affecting the nation.
The human rights campaigners accuse Mutharika of using homosexuality and abortion issues as a tactic to divert the attention of Malawi from the endemic problems confronting the impoverished southern African country.
The activists, who included Timothy Mtambo of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Gift Trapence of Centre for Development of the People (Cedep), Father Martin Kalimbe of the Anglican Church and John Phiri, a human rights lawyer, made the accusation at a news conference
The human rights campaigners called for the news conference in Zomba to respond to the President’s comments on homosexuality .
They accuse Mutharika of making ill-considered and extemporaneous statements.
During a Talk to the President programme aired on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC radio and TV) last week, Mutharika said the issues should be decided by Malawians suggesting he was for a referendum. He later told MBC that that he spoke in his personal capacity.
Critics have also accused Mutharika and his government of having an obsession with homosexuality.
In his comments, Trapence accused President Mutharika of trying to divert Malawians’ attention on problems affecting the country such as hunger, shortage of forex and other economic problems by commenting on homosexuality.
“The government’s obsession with this homosexuality is a tactic to divert people’s attention from the endemic problems confronting the nation,” he said.
He said everyday poverty is on the increase and people’s standard of living and earning capacities are on the decline in Malawi.
On his part, Mtambo wondered why there is a tendency of propagating a populist agenda when a country is having economic problems.
He further wondered how Malawians could make a distinction between a President as a person and as a leader of the country.
“In fact, that programme was about the President of a country not as an individual. As such, he was speaking as a President,” he said.
Others argue that government is using moral reasons to criminalise homosexuality while ignoring prostitution.
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