Musician-cum-politician Lucius Banda on Sunday received rare praise during a Catholic homily in Mangochi for abruptly ending his musical show in the holiday lakeshore district of Mangochi in protest against the kissing of two men on Christmas Day.
Bishop Montfort Sitima of Mangochi diocese said Sunday in church in his homily that many Malawians reject homosexuality only that they do not speak out.
“The government should not sell out our culture and our religion in exchange for money,” said Sitima, indirectly attacking the government for bowing in to pressure by powerful donors of US, United Kingdom and Germany to suspend all gay laws in Malawi.
“The church does not hate the people engaged in homosexuality but their action,” said Sitima.
He is the second catholic bishop to come out in the open to condemn homosexuality after the arrest of two men in Lilongwe a few weeks ago whose charges have since been dropped by the state.
Banda, who is also member of Parliament (MP) for Balaka North (United Democratic Front-UDF), and his Zembani Band were performing at Zitherepano in Mangochi on Christmas day where he suddenly stopped the show having seen two men in the audience kissing.
Writing on his Facebook wall, Lucius, a devoted Catholic, said he is not funded by western donors to make public performances.
Sitima and the church were celebrating family day, a day Catholics celebrate the life of little Jesus, his father Joseph and mother Mary.
The bishop also hailed Dedza east legislator Juliana Lunguzi for coming out in the open to condemn abortion.
He said Malawi was founded on Christian principles and urged the government to declare Malawi a Christian nation, wondering why the declaration is delaying in view of unchristian and alien cultures coming to Malawi.
But the Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), one of the organisations that promotes minority rights, has branded the musician’s comments as homophobic and inciteful
Executive director of Cedep, Gift Trapence said it is unlikely that Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people would be kissing at a concert by Lucius Banda who has been recently expressing hate of gays on social media.
“This was likely staged by people aiming to incite further hatred from him. It is also important to remind Lucius that Malawi is a secular State and everyone is entitled to attend public events in this country. When he says that gays are not allowed at his concerts he should know that such events have no place in this country,” said Trapence.
Trapence said Lucius should also be reminded that he is a secular musician who goes to beer drinking joints to entertain people who include sex workers.
“His shows are attended by different groups of people with different backgrounds and you cannot discriminate or insult such people based on whatever grounds. These are the people and fans that have made you to be a musician who you are now. I think Lucius has seen heterosexuals kissing many times during his shows where lots of things happen. May be it is a high time he considered singing in the church,” said Trapence.
Reacting to Trapence statement, Lucius Banda said: “I am a believer in traditional African values and therefore I have a God given right to comment on contemporary issues affecting Malawians.
“If Trapence has the audacity to call me homophobic I have the right to retort and call Trapence heterophobic. Let him not fool, Malawians that there is global consensus on [LGBTI]”.
Lucius Banda said he has no apologies to make for his anti-gay stand, saying “. I am a firm believer in natural law. By nature, we know that opposites attract. When they do not, something is intrinsically wrong.”
He continued: “As Uhuru Kenyatta said to Obama recently the issue of homosexuality in Africa is a non issue. It must not be used to foster a culture or a philosophy on a people. Let change come originally on this issue not through force and imperial means. In this regard, I propose that Malawi as country seriously considers holding a referendum on this matter to put this issue to rest! I rest my case.”
Malawi suspended enforcement of anti-gay laws, among them Sections 137(a), 153, 154 and 156 of the Penal Code pending a High Court review of their constitutionality, but the process is yet to be concluded.
The country is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees the right to privacy and the right to non-discrimination of all people.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :