Malawi Law Society (MLS) has condemned Ken Msonda, who is the spokesperson for the former ruling People’s Party (PP ) for his recent remarks on homosexuality, demanding that gays be killed after the country’s justice minister Samuel Tembenu put a temporary prohibition on anti-homosexual laws.
Msonda made headlines last week when he posted on his Facebook timeline that gays should be murdered in Malawi and described homosexuals as being worse than dogs and that gays and lesbians were “sons and daughters of the devil”.
He also called on government to clarify its stance on homosexuality.
But Msonda’s tough stance against homosexuality had angered Malawi Law Society, who have since condemned his remarks as “hate speech” and referred the matter to Malawi Human Rights Commission and Police to probe.
The lawyers said Msonda’s remarks were “contemptible, irresponsible and bordering on hate speech.”
In a statement jointly issued by MLS president John Suzi Banda and its honorary secretary Khumbo Soko, the law society said Msonda’s remarks are “certainly beneath anybody who lays claim to being a leader in our country.”
The lawyers also observed with concern the “increasingly homophobic statements” in Malawi.
The MLS has reminded Malawians that hate speech is not covered by the constitutional guarantee of free speech.
“Calling on members of the LGBTI community to be killed is hate speech and is not protected by the Constitution. It is in fact criminal,” MLS statement reads,
MLS said they have referred Msonda’s Facebook post to Malawi Human Rights Commission and the Malawi Police Service “so that they investigate the said conduct and take appropriate action.”
The law society said it “unequivocally affirms” that the rights of LGBTI people in Malawi are human rights which are protected under Chapter IV of the Constitution of Malawi.
“ The inherent dignity of all of our citizens, which in terms of the Constitution is inviolable, requires the state and all Malawians to take steps that ensure that persons are not treated differently solely on the basis of their sexual orientation,” reads the statement.
MLS said debate on homosexuality should be conducted “in a spirit of civility.”
Msonda is not the first Malawian to have openly discriminated against homosexuals.
A Catholic bishop recently stated those of homosexual orientation were “horrible sinners.”
Minister of Justice, Samuel Tembenu, reaffirmed that LGBTI people are not to be arrested by Malawi Police or prosecuted while lawmakers in the country continue to re-examine the existing laws prohibiting homosexuality.
The announcement was made after the charges of sodomy, brought up against a gay couple, were dropped earlier this month. Former Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara, revealed the position of the government first in 2012, when Msonda’s PP was in power.
Gay rights groups praised the Malawian government for its commitment towards protecting the rights of the LGBT community and other minorities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :