My writing is specifically directed in response to the assertions made by the Rastafarian fraternity in Malawi concerning their petition to President Mrs Joyce Banda to legalize Indian Hemp or Chamba.
The Rastafarians argue that smoking the drug locally knowns as ‘chamba’ is part of their religious doctrine which must be respected and upheld.
It is not wrong neither an offence in a democratic country like Malawi for the general public to ask the government to provide and respect their rights, because respecting the rights of the citizens is the main legal responsibility of the government. However, the important question to be answered here is; what does the concept of minority rights connote and who are the minority? Scholars of sociology define Minority as a subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their lives than members of a dominant or majority group. The marginalized people in the society fall in the same category. In the context of Malawi, the minority can be the Rastafarians, prostitutes, gays , lesbians and etc.
According to Rastafarians, it is their right to smoke and make use of Chamba. This call is within the premises of respecting the rights of the minority. The inference of this argument simply put that sex workers and other so called marginalized groups of people in the country should also fight for their rights from the government within the umbrella of respecting the minority rights. Is this what Malawi need?
it is not true to argue that Muslims use Lubani for worshiping as claimed by Rastafarians. The truth of the matter is that Muslims use Lubani as a fragrant or an air freshener that brings nice aroma in their houses, shops, offices or praying places. So comparing Chamba to Lubani is not a reasonable argument.
Additionally, I believe that Malawians have never complained at any point that Lubani is causing problems in their neighbourhood. But the case is different when we look at the impact of Chamba in the society hence declared illegal to use it.
Threatening or blackmailing the government to legalize Chamba or to normalize the abnormal is morally wrong. It is not only Rastafarians who cast their votes in Malawi hence blackmailing the President in the name of votes is unacceptable stratagem.
Gays , Lesbians, armed robbers, pang-thugs and even witchcrafts they also vote. So should the government legalize such immoral behaviours simply because the President wants to have their votes?
In wrapping up, I believe that if it is true that Malawi is a God fearing nation as it is proudly pronounced by all Malawians; the government will not at any cost legalize the illegal habits which promote immoral behaviours in the country.
What we should know is that once the government allow such depraved practices in the name of respecting the minority rights, Malawi should expect to experience what other societies do where man can take an animal as a partner.
Hopefully Malawians are not ready for that.
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