A new law on child adoption in Malawi is proposing to ban gays and lesbians from adopting children.
The law will also not allow individuals found to have unsound mind and former convicted criminals to adopt Malawian children.
The proposals were unveiled by Malawi’s special Law Commission chairperson Judge Esmie Chombo in the capital Lilongwe on Monday.
The law also proposed that adoptive parents would have to be aged between 25 and 65 years.
Chombo said the commission has proposed the setting up of a central authority under the director for social welfare to act on inter-country adoptions.
Currently the law says an adoptive parent has to live in Malawi for 18 months before being awarded a child for adoption. This was the reason Justice Chombo advanced when she initially refused US pop star Madonna from adopting Malawian girl.
Chombo said the High Court will have “jurisdiction on all matters of inter-country adoption.”
The legislation has also stiff penalties for flouting adoption regulations including a seven year jail sentence and K1 million fines for profiting from adoption.
One could be sentences three years in jail for holding back information from authorities and could also be ordered to a pay a fine of K500, 000.00.
The law also punishes advertisement of children for adoption by a prison sentence of seven years.
“Interfering with the child’s upbringing is punishable by a fine of K200, 000.00. Tampering of documents will attract a seven-year sentence,” Chombo said of the punishments.
The Judge also disclosed that processing of inter-country adoption by any unauthorised agencies will attract a fine that will range from K500, 000 and K2 million.
Law Commissioner Gertrude Hiwa has since said the proposed law will go for a legal scrutiny at the ministry of justice before being presented to cabinet and then to parliament for approval.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :