Monday, April 26, 2010

Mutharika criticises gay movement

 Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika. Reuters

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika. Reuters 

By REX CHIKOKO, Nation Correspondent,

Blantyre, Monday

The homosexual movement in Malawi was dealt a heavy blow at the weekend when President Bingu wa Mutharika condemned the act, describing it as foreign and un-African.

President Mutharika made the scathing remarks during the consecration of a Roman Catholic Bishop at Limbe Cathedral in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city.

The president has never said a word since two gays — Mr Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Mr Steven Monjeza — openly engaged in Blantyre in December last year. The two were arrested and are awaiting judgement later this month.

Meanwhile, Malawi Human Rights organisations are at a resort in Liwonde, Machinga District, where they have invited different stakeholders to discuss matters surrounding Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) groups.

President Mutharika’s comments overshadowed the efforts by the lobby groups, which have been fighting for the recognition of homosexuals in Malawi.

The comments also cast a long shadow over the chances of Mr Chimbalanga and Mr Monjeza getting a fair trial.

Mr Mutharika called upon religious leaders to pray for Malawi to return to the “good old days”.

“Malawians are even aping cultures they do not understand. They are saying a man should marry a fellow man!

Rising number

“This is evil and bad before the eyes of God. There are certain things we Malawians just do not do,” the president said.

But at the conference in Liwonde, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation executive director Undule Mwakasungula said it was important for the country to discuss LGBT issues considering that research has indicated that Malawi has a growing number of homosexuals.

Mr Mwakasungula said statistics showed that HIV and Aids prevalence among gays was high.

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