Malawi suspends anti-gay laws

2012-11-05 14:04

Lilongwe - Malawi suspended laws against same-sex relationships on Monday and ordered police not to arrest gays pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation, a source of friction with the impoverished southern African nation's donors.

Homosexuality is banned in Malawi - as it is in 36 other African states - and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, but Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara said he wanted debate on the issue before parliament decided whether to keep the laws or not.

"If we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional it would be an embarrassment to government," he said.

"It is better to let one criminal get away with it rather than throw a lot of innocent people in jail."

In 2009, two men were arrested and charged with public indecency after becoming the first gay couple to marry in the socially conservative former British colony.

The prosecution drew international condemnation and was one of the reasons Western donors withdrew budget support to the government of Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in April.

A recent report presented to Mutharika's successor, Joyce Banda, recommended decriminalisation of same-sex marriages as a way of helping the fight against the spread of HIV and Aids.

  • theve.teves - 2012-11-05 14:10

    Good one Sir

  • brendonJHB - 2012-11-05 15:07

    The gay PROBLEM Emmett - an unafrican are you both serious!!! oh yes and then I suppose Emmet there's the Islamic problem as well... well we all forget that god forbid we may have a son or daughter that turns out to be 'THAT' problem, sjoe and imagine timmy.khethani if you end up with an UnAfriocan gay child oh well then you'll need to relook at your unafrican family and Emmet so glad I don't live around people like yourself! Wake up!!

  • jennifer.s.nutt - 2012-11-05 16:25

    I can't make up my mind if Timmy and Emmett are for real or if they're trolls. Fantastic news though!

      james.hurley.1401 - 2012-11-05 17:01

      yes, fantastic news

  • gaynor.paynter - 2012-11-05 16:36

    Good for Malawi, that is progress... although it's absolutely ridiculous in this day and age that we still have to fight for equal rights for all. The sheer arrogance of anybody condemning anyone else's gender orientation amazes me ... it's not your business! But I guess judging is and always will be part of human nature.

      james.hurley.1401 - 2012-11-05 17:08

      I like your comment - one thing, sexual orientation does not mean the same thing as gender orientation. I identify as male, as well as being homosexual.

      gaynor.paynter - 2012-11-05 22:34

      You are right James, and I'm always getting it mixed up which is not a good thing for a person who considers themselves to be able to proofread :-) I think though that we need to ignore these guys above.. they're trolls.. and be glad that Malawi is making some sort of progress.

  • Werewabbit - 2012-11-05 16:38

    What I have never understood about all of this is what difference does it make to the country? I mean, its like banning shaving of armpits, or tying the left lace before the right: who cares what you do in the privacy of your own room? The problem I have is when one group impose their beliefs on others, and I suspect that is the crux of the matter: conservative heterosexual majority is scared that tolerating gays will lead to everyone turning into homosexuals. It won't. Don't worry. Most people like the company of the opposite sex. I'm sure there 1000 other more pressing things to worry about than what people do in their own company, like creating jobs, improving commerce, uplifting the standard of living...

      james.hurley.1401 - 2012-11-05 17:05

      you hit the nail on the head with the last part of your comment - the hysteria over homosexuality is a means for enigmatic pastors to notch up funding from the evangelical right in America (as in Uganda) or for politicians to distract attention from their corruption (or to foster support through herd-mentality hysteria). There are homosexual people in every single society. It just galls me the extent to which 'morally righteous' African people will go to stir up hate for gay people. This pastor in Uganda went and found the most extreme pornography he could find and showed it to his congregation (even with children present).

  • wul4I - 2012-11-06 07:47

    A people, a populations who can not review certain conditions of there living, or who do not at all sense in real meaning the word sacrifice are bound for ever to live on dependence truck. Because the so call "Donors" treat or cut the what Dem call Donations which in realities are prolongations of slave treaty and who have prove itself be the main reason of Indigenous African people misery. When she landed in power, she acted a bunch of actions who attracted admirations 4 many. Yet she on the route the inject the virus of those Sickers in the roots of Indigenous African Culture. We Indigenous African must Understand the Westen culture are a System that on the surface seams to present women as equals & respected, but in reality treat women like an object. (4 real, I am even nice, because reality is worse.) SURE the Quaran & Bible won´t oppose my view. So, the Deep QUESTIONS ARE STILL ON TABLE: WHAT ARE THE ACTIONS WE as indigenous African Youths TAKE OR ACT TO TACKLE THOSE CORRUPTED LEADERS WHO SEAMS TO NOT UNDERSTAND ours NEED of SOCIETY WHIT NO DIRTY IMPORTED HABITS ? African Women your are the one to lead this fight. leave that child & home duties for the man to care & move the street to raise your Voice ! Rmemba, Wake is not all, Sacrifice is needed Afro youth

      james.hurley.1401 - 2012-11-06 09:31

      I'd bother attempting to argue with your ridiculous claims if they weren't so badly expressed that I know it will be futile

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