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Malawi's Mutharika calls for gay rights to be respected

08 January 2016, 13:12

Lilongwe - Malawian President Peter Mutharika wants the rights of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community to be respected and protected, All Africa reports.

Speaking during Capital Radio's Daybreak Malawi, Presidential Press Secretary Gerald Viola disclosed that Mutharika wants the rights of homosexuals to be upheld, with Malawian citizens having the final say on whether or not homosexuality should be legalised.

A temporary prohibition on anti-homosexual laws was recently introduced in Malawi, with Mutharika reiterating that it was up to Malawians to decide what should be legalised, even if it meant voting in a referendum.

Law experts, however, have come out in stern opposition against Mutharika's recent decisions, saying the suspension of anti-gay laws was an insult to the National Assembly as Parliament was never consulted.

Also read: Malawi leader Mutharika pardons over 200 inmates

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Peter Chakwantha, condemned the prohibition, calling it "illegal and unconstitutional".

Chakwantha also lambasted Mutharika, saying that his government was power hungry and had no respect for the judiciary or the legislature. He expressed disappointment in the president - who has a legal background - saying he lacked guidance guidance when it came to the executive.

Justin Dzonzi, a law commentator, said government should have followed the appropriate channels through the courts or parliament before issuing a suspension.

Private practice lawyer John Gift Mwakhwawa added that the suspension amounted to an insult to the powers of the legislature.

This came as Ken Msonda, spokesperson for the former ruling People's Party (PP), this week demanded that homosexuals be killed. Msonda described members of the LGBTI community as being worse than dogs and calling them "sons and daughters of the devil".

Sections 153 and 156 of Malawi's penal code states that same-sex sexual conduct between men is a criminal act, with perpetrators facing up to 14 years imprisonment, with or without corporal punishment.

Section 137A of the code criminalises "indecent practices between females", carrying a 5 year prison term.

The suspension of anti-gay laws has since been welcomed by LGBTI activists across the country.

Read more at All Africa

- News24


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