Malawi’s biggest Christian churches mother body, the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), has said time has come to hold a referendum on homosexuality laws. The call comes on the backdrop of a case on sodomy being heard in the High Court.
A statement from the Council challenges that the matter as has been handled in the case now has identified a constitutional approach to the matter, and therefore a referendum on whether homosexuality should be legalised or not should be a collective and decisive process.
“A single judge sitting in the court cannot, and must not determine on an issue like homosexuality which touches on the constitutionality of a matter affecting all Malawians. Without prejudicing the court process, we feel that the best way for this matter to be resolved is to engage all Malawians of capability to cast a vote on the way forward on the matter. A referendum must decide this matter,” said Rev. Dr. Osborne Joda-Mbewe, general secretary of MCC.
The statement also highlights that the position of the church in Malawi remains that homosexuality is not only against God, but is also alien to Malawian culture, beliefs and traditions.
“Homosexuality is a sin. As the Council we still welcome homosexuality’s to come and repent and move in the way of the Word. We also encourage heath service providers to continue to offer their services to those in the bondage of homosexuality because they are citizens, and that they soon, spiritually, find the right way to change their ways,” adds the statement made available to Nyasa Times Saturday.
The statement, which resonates with its earlier stand on the matter, continues to ask donors and development partners to desist from attaching aid to alien behaviours forced onto the Malawian people.
“Forcing homosexuality amongst Malawians is not only wrong, but also continues to deny the Malawian people of the much important developmental needs on the expense of a few people. Democracy talks of the majority and we hold that this must be the way forward. The majority of Malawians do not subscribe to homosexual liaisons, even in prisons and elsewhere within the country. We are sovereign and we are a God-fearing nation that must be respected with its laws and traditions,” emphasizes the statement.
The need to address the HIV and AIDS pandemic cannot also be used as a barometer to legalise homosexuality, says the Council, as we believe no laws bar any Malawian or anyone in Malawi from accessing health services and facilities.
Some donor agencies and nations have threatened African countries including Malawi that they would cut aid if homosexuality was not legalised.
MCC has over 27 member churches from the main protestant Christian faith spread across the country.