News / Africa

Malawi Government Pleased with Homosexual Couple Conviction

Information minister Leckford Mwanza Thotho says the verdict proves homosexuality is against Malawian culture and tradition

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza are taken into custody after celebrating their engagement (photo by Lameck Masina)
Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza are taken into custody after celebrating their engagement (photo by Lameck Masina)

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

The Malawian minister of information, Leckford Mwanza Thotho said his government is pleased with the conviction Tuesday of a homosexual couple for “gross indecency” and “unnatural acts.”

Twenty-year old Tiwonge Chimbalanga and 26-year old Steven Monjeza were arrested last December after holding a symbolic same sex wedding. Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa said the two men will be sentenced tomorrow (Thursday).

Minister Mwanza Thotho said the verdict proves homosexuality is against Malawian culture.

“What we are saying is that the ruling or the court proceeding as of today, reflects our tradition in Malawi. It just shows that the gay issue is against our culture in Malawi,” he said.

Thotho said the verdict also came as a relief for the hundreds of Malawians who packed the courtroom Tuesday.

Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika
Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika

“They were happy that they (the court) had ruled in favor of the majority of Malawians. It came as a relief, at least, to make sure that our traditions are not tampered with,” Thotho said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday the United States was deeply disappointed by the conviction and viewed criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as a step backward in the protection of human rights in Malawi.

Crowley called on the Malawian government to respect the human rights of all of its citizens.

But, Information Minister Thotho said just as polygamy is not allowed in the United States, so, too, should homosexuality not be permitted in Malawi.

“What I’m trying to say is if polygamy is not allowed in America and we have not forced you to do that for the sake of human rights…so, if other countries allowed polygamy, and we say you have to allow polygamy for the sake of human rights, we are not doing fair to your situation in America. So, it’s the same thing with our country. Homosexuality is a taboo in Malawi,” Thotho said.

He said Western countries should understand Malawi’s situation and should not use the threat of withholding aid to force Malawi to accept homosexuality.

Thotho said the Malawian government has every right to defend its constitution and protect its citizens.

“I think what we must understand is every country has got its traditions and culture which they have to follow, and if there is something very strange in nature which would have a very negative impact on the country, I think it is the duty of government to uphold the constitution and laws of that country,” Minister Thotho said.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs