The topic of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) ruffled feathers during the Tuesday presidential running mates final debate with participants differing on what their governments would do once elected into power about the minority group.
The debate was organised by private-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and tackled sticky issues that produced varying responses from the panellists who included Sidik Mia (Malawi Congress Party –MCP), Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo (United Democratic Front- UDF) and Dr Micheal Usi (UTM Party).
Ruling Democrtaic Progressive Party (DPP) running mate Everton Chimulirenji shunned again the third debate after ducking other contests in Lilonge and Blantyre in previous weeks because his party’s stand is not to participate in any elections live debate.
At Grand Palace Hotel in Mzuzu on Tuesday night, marverick debate moderator Joab Frank Chakhaza brought the emotive issue of same-sex marriages or homosexuality.
The issue of LGBTI remains quite sensitive in Malawi and is outlawed with a maximum of a 14 year jail term.
While UTM party’s Michael Usi was for a national “referendum,” UDF runningmate Mwenifumbo, and MCP’s Mia said they would not entertain the phenomenon if voted into power, saying they will let the law take its course.
“UTM is a people party. My voice will not be a panacea for Malawians. Malawians will have to discuss….yes, a referendum will do,” Usi said.
“If they say yes, then we will go that way. If not, then we won’t. So, for us, we will have a people referendum,” UTM running mate added.
On his part, Mwenifumbo described the issue of LGBTI as “un-Malawian.”
“Democracy is a culture. But the issue of LGBTI is not in our culture. It is a foreign phenomenon. We will not be dictated about by the West to support something that is not in our culture,” said Mwenifumbo.
And MCP’ Mia said his party would not allow people of the minority sexual orientation in the country.
“I do not subscribe to that at all. If they cross the floor they will be arrested,” said Mia.
Mia felt the LGBTI community is in minority, hence, a referendum would not be a fair arrangement , as it is a forgone conclusion that homosexuality will be rejected.
Earlier, host Chakhaza led the audience in wishing Mwenifumbo a happy birthday.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :