Commenting on the DPP government’s move to suspend Section 153 of the Penal Code which prohibits citizens from having carnal knowledge of each other against the law of nature, MCP president Lazarus Chakwera accused the administration of what lawyers fondly say acting ultra vires.
In Chakwera’s wisdom, the DPP government does not have the right to suspend national laws without consulting and allowing the people’s representatives in Parliament to have a say.
It is difficult to argue against Chakwera because one sees the danger of government using the same powers it used to suspend the law to also tamper, let’s say, in the extreme case, with the Constitution.
But when all is said and done, one also sees a government that does not have a choice after being put in a tight corner by donors after the Cashgate scandal.
The economy has tanked and the administration does not have any breathing space to start arguing with the international community on minority rights.
The fact is the DPP is conservative on gay rights. It, therefore, does not have the spine to change the law on homosexuality even if it wanted to as 2019 will surely come and imagine the effects it would have on the electorate if MCP went to some village and tell people that DPP wants men to marry men and women to marry women.
The villagers would think the party has gone bonkers even it tried all means to talk about the importance of respecting minority rights.
The point in all this is that the DPP government did not have a choice but to stop the cruelty that homosexuals suffer and a moratorium is a better devil to appease the international community while at the same time not doing away with the law altogether so as not to lose its conservative base which is a majority.
But there is one stakeholder that the DPP government has forgotten to inform and convince about the moratorium and it is the police.
They are all over the place and wreaking havoc. For the record, they arrested Cuthbert Kulemeka and Kelvin Gonani and forced them to undergo medical tests they did not ask for in the name of investigating the matter.
When the noose tightened they changed tune and said they arrested the two for their own protection.
This week some overzealous Blantyre Police officers on Wednesday saw wisdom in disrupting a Times Group interview and detained the reporter and his two gay sources who he was interviewing for this newspaper’s story.
They even had the audacity of confiscating the reporter’s notepad, tablet, two cameras and a WiFi box. They also took his interviewees’ phone.
It only took the intervention of a senior officer to see the senselessness of his juniors’ actions and release the reporter and the three gay men without charge.
Now, one may ask, what is the issue here? What is wrong with a reporter talking to people who have chosen to live their sexual lives differently especially when government has issued a moratorium on the laws governing the issue?
And what is this about protecting gays from the public? Which public?
Surely no sensible and decent human being would want to hurt adults in this day and age simply because they have chosen to have sex differently from them.
In the final analysis, the Ministry of Home Affairs should do us a favour by issuing clear instructions to Police management at Area 30 that there is a moratorium in town on gay arrests and harassment which must then cascade down to the lowest police officer in the whole service.
Without which government will continue getting embarrassed on the matter and having to fire fight due to the incorrigible nature of some rank and file of police. And, as citizens, we have had enough.
The Ministry of Health had a bad week after 63 of its staff were suspended over alleged misuse of funds meant for a Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded HIV project.
Basically this is US citizens tax payers’ money and the Americans have followed the matter of the 63 by suspending the supply of Malaria drugs and support to some 10 centres citing the same theft and mismanagement.
The suspension is a good move and hopefully it will be followed up by investigations and punishment of those in the wrong.
Sadly, it is another sign that there is just so much rot at the Ministry of Health and it must not be surprising that our healthcare system is literally on its knees.
Although the ministry argues to the contrary, there is shortage of drugs in our hospitals and the little we have is largely from donors such as the US.
To imagine that the ministry has in its ranks officials that would be so careless as to abuse the largess of the donors at the time the poor Malawian needs it most, is horrible, a real ‘heresy’.
I can only hope that this is not the last time that we will get to hear of the matter as citizens but that we will also hear its logical conclusion.
Musician Lucius Banda had a good week for protesting against two men who were kissing during a show in Mangochi.
Those of us who don’t give a damn about two consenting adults deciding to have sex they way they know how, do it on the basis that they do it within the confines of the four walls away from the public place and from our children.
The moment they start displaying vulgar sexual affection as the two did in Mangochi, they will lose some of us.
The reason is because even those of us who think we are straight respect the Malawian way and show sexual affection in the confines of a private place.
The facts are very clear. Most Malawians abhor homosexuality and those that exercise their right to homosexuality will not do it public if only to show a bit of respect and being sensitive to what obtains on the ground.
Definitely times have changed and that is why you have government stopping the cruelty of locking up homosexuals through a moratorium.
Yet this is not a licence for them to go overboard and tempt fate.
Lucius embodied that and he had a good week.