Opposition People’s Transformation Party (Petra) has spoken against President Joyce Banda’s announcement that her government intends to repeal the country’s ban on homosexuality, saying that would give a lee way to same-sex marriages.
During her state-of-the-nation address on Friday, President Banda told parliament that “some of the laws that were duly passed by this house will be repealed as a matter of urgency”.
The laws include the “indecent practices and unnatural acts,” she said in reference to the homosexuals ban’s legal name.
But Petra which has no member of parliament, said in a statement issued by its president Kamuzu Chibambo that it is “disturbed “ with the repealing the anti-gay laws “without any prior consultation with the Malawi people.”
Chibambo, a practising lawyer, said decriminalising homosexuality would be tantamount to legalising same sex marriages hence the need to tread with care.
“In the first place, it is a misnomer [incorrect] to call same sex partnerships as marriages. Malawi would be making a grave mistake to legalise same sex marriages… as it would be an onslaught on the family which is the bedrock of society,” said the Petra president.
“We, therefore, strongly urge parliamentarians, faith leaders and all Christians and Muslims alike both within and outside the country to vehemently resist any intention directly or indirectly to legalise same sex marriage. The time to act is now,” Chibambo added in the statement.
He therefore urged those in power never take such criticisms as an attack on personalities but should rather reflect on them and improve where necessary.
If President Banda succeeds in overturning the anti-gay laws, Malawi will become the first African country to legally recognise homosexuals’ rights since 1996, when South Africa enshrined them in its constitution.
The President needs the proposal to be passed by a parliamentary vote and it is expected that she is likely to get enough support from MPs to repeal the law.