Pas­tors slam gays

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

BLAN­TYRE — A coali­tion of young pas­tors in Malawi have threat­ened to drag the gov­ern­ment to court to force it ar­rest 4 000 ho­mo­sex­u­als liv­ing in north­ern Malawi’s city of Mzuzu.

The Young Pas­tors Coali­tion of Malawi (YPCM) has ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of en­cour­ag­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity through its fail­ure to ar­rest gays and les­bians.

The call comes af­ter a lo­cal hu­man rights group­ing Cen­tre for the Devel­op­ment of the Peo­ple (Cedep) has re­leased re­search find­ings which in­di­cates that north­ern Malawi’s city of Mzuzu has a pop­u­la­tion of 4 000 ho­mo­sex­u­als.

The sur­vey by Cedep was con­ducted to es­tab­lish HIV/AIDS and so­cio-be­havioural char­ac­ter­is­tics amongst men who have sex with men.

De­spite same sex re­la­tions be­ing out­lawed, Malawi gov­ern­ment has been re­luc­tant to ar­rest and pros­e­cute ho­mo­sex­u­als.

The sur­vey re­sults have irked the pas­tors who ar­gue that the re­search was con­ducted as part of ad­vo­cacy to pro­mote ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in Malawi.

“We want the group that con­ducted the sur­vey to present the names of the 4 000 ho­mo­sex­u­als to police so that they can be ar­rested and face pros­e­cu­tion,” ar­gue the pas­tors in a state­ment.

The state­ment signed by the coali­tion’s di­rec­tor Patrick Banda and general sec­re­tary Tusal­i­fye Mb­eye adds: “This state­ment should warn of­fi­cials like the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions and the In­spec­tor General of Police to take ac­tion and treat any ho­mo­sex­ual as a crim­i­nal, the same way thieves are treated as crim­i­nals.”

Re­act­ing to the call, Malawi’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter Sa­muel Tem­benu has ad­vised the pas­tors to con­cen­trate on their work in­stead of pok­ing their noses into mat­ters of the state.

“Let our pas­tors con­tinue do­ing their good work of sav­ing lost souls. How­ever, they should let ex­perts in hu­man rights, con­sti­tu­tion­al­ism and law en­force­ment to do what they are sup­posed to do,” he said.

Re­li­gious lead­ers have been ve­he­mently op­pos­ing the re­lax­ation of ho­mo­sex­ual laws in Malawi.

Re­cently, the clergy spear­headed the quash­ing of a gov­ern­ment’s mora­to­rium on gays which shielded ho­mo­sex­u­als from pros­e­cu­tion.

De­spite the pas­tors’ cam­paign, Malaw­ian gov­ern­ment has said it will not ar­rest or pros­e­cute gay cit­i­zens as law­mak­ers will re­view ex­ist­ing anti-ho­mo­sex­ual laws.

Un­der Malawi laws, con­victed ho­mo­sex­u­als are jailed for 14 years.

— News24

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