In 2014 Lazarus Chakwera, former head of The Assemblies of God Church, made a link between homosexuality and child abuse
ALTHOUGH a 2017 British Home Office briefing said that ‘there is no evidence that there is widespread harassment of, or violence against, LGBT persons’ in Malawi, LGBT communities in the Subsaharan African country should be alarmed by the election of Lazarus Chakwera as the country’s new President for two reasons.
First, according to Human Dignity Trust, in May 2014 , Chakwera:
Made a link between homosexuality and child abuse, claiming that homosexuality is a form of ‘child exploitation.’
HDT also pointed out that in the same year Dr Salmin Omar Idruss, Secretary-General of the Muslim Association of Malawi, called for the introduction of the death penalty for gays:
Even animals like goats don’t do this, what more with human beings like us who were blessed with wisdom by the Almighty God? The offenders need to be handed the death penalty as a way of making sure that the issue is curbed.
Second is that his election has been warmly welcomed by the abhorrent American evangelist Franklin Graham, who is notorious for demonising homosexuality.
Writing on Facebook last Sunday Graham congratulated the new President, saying that he did a great job chairing a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association outreach in 2010 called My Hope Malawi.
“President Chakwera said, ‘My victory is a win for democracy and justice.’ Will you join me in praying that God will bless, direct, and protect this man as he leads his country?” Graham asked.
The 65-year-old Malawian entered politics in 2013 without any previous experience and was the leader of the Malawi Congress Party. His career in public service follows 24 years of leading the Assemblies of God denomination. It is one of the largest religious groups in that nation.
When he won the election on June 27 he tweeted:
Thank you, my Lord Jesus.
After being sworn in on Sunday, Chakwera promised to unite the African nation of approximately 18 million people and address government corruption.
There’s no cause for fear because I will be your President and my policy for inclusivity means we are building a new Malawi for all of us. I’m not a President of a faction, I’m a President of everyone in the country. I want to provide leadership that makes everybody prosper, that deals decisively with corruption and theft of public funds and a leadership that will follow the rule of law.
According to Wikipedia:
The Malawi Constitution does not specifically prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation … On 17 April 2015, The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Law came into force and banned all same-sex marriages and unions. While the law was praised for raising the minimum age of heterosexual marriages from 16 to 18, it was at the same time condemned for the exclusion of homosexual couples and for its language stating that one’s gender is assigned at birth.
The new law does not allow people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery to marry someone of that person’s prior gender and also draws comparisons of gay sex to rape and sexual harassment.
Human Rights Watch adds:
Malawi’s laws prohibiting consensual same-sex relations foster a climate of fear and fuel violence and discrimination. T
he punitive legal environment combined with social stigma allows police abuse to go unchecked and prevents many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from reporting violence or getting medical care.
The lack of clarity about the legal status of same-sex conduct leaves LGBT people vulnerable to arbitrary arrests, physical violence, and routine discrimination. The government should reaffirm the moratorium on arrests for consensual same-sex conduct issued by the Justice Minister in 2012 and move rapidly to decriminalize such conduct.
For some odd reason, Malawi has a law that designed to deter men from growing their hair long. Human Dignity Trust points out that Section 180(g) of the Penal Code (Idle and Disorderly Persons) criminalises men who wear their hair beyond a certain length, with a penalty of three months imprisonment, and for repeat offenders, six months imprisonment and a fine.
This provision is seen as criminalising gender expression.
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