Lilongwe – A Malawian musician and Member of Parliament, Lucius Banda, has reportedly claimed that sex between older men and teenage boys is rampant in his country's prisons, as he experienced while serving a sentence in one of the prisons.
Banda said he was jailed at Zomba maximum prison some years ago for forging his educational certificate.
According to Nyasa Times, Banda, who was interviewed recently by a local radio station, spoke about the issue of gay rights.
During his time in prison, Banda was in charge of distributing rosaries to other prisoners, but when the rosaries were not enough he discovered that the rosary beads were being used by teenage boys who older prisoners had taken for their "wives".
"I was really annoyed. I asked the authorities to remove all the young boys from our cells and this was done," Banda was quoted as saying.
Banda is the first public figure to publicly condemn homosexuality in Malawi. He urged government to stand firm in its decision to condemn homosexuality and protect its identity regardless of pressure from other countries.
Also Read: We say no to gay rights - Malawi bishops
The Maravi Post quoted Banda as comparing homosexuality to a disability.
"Homosexuality is a disability and I don't condone disabilities. If you are disabled you go and get medicine, you don't sit and say this is a minority. You don't create a minority out of a mistake - if you eat through your nose not your mouth – it is abnormal, go to a hospital, they should fix it."
Banda's remarks came after Catholic bishops met with President Peter Mutharika last week over the issue of homosexuality. The bishops encouraged Mutharika to stay strong against outside pressure to legalise homosexuality, saying these ideals were foreign to Malawians.
Symon Matumba, an Anglican clerk, also came out in the open to say he would allow a gay person to attend his church but only after extreme counselling, AllAfrica reported.
According to government statistics, there are approximately 40 000 homosexuals currently living in Malawi.
Under the country’s anti-gay laws, those found to be guilty could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison with hard labour.
However, government recently indicated that it would call for a referendum on whether homosexuality should be outlawed as outside donors are putting pressure on the country.
- News 24