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Hitting The NailNewsOpinion & AnalysisWorld

Hitting the nail: Let’s be humans on homosexuality

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I have said this and I will repeat it. If a referendum were to be held today on whether government should repeal Section 153 of the Penal Code, which prohibits homosexuality, the majority would vote no.

What this means is that such an exercise would be a futile one which we can do without.

As Malawians, we are generally conservative on the issue, just like many African countries are.

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Foreigners can do well in respecting this stand.

There is no need for them to force us to adopt a positive attitude towards homosexuals overnight.

The problem with homosexuality in our society is that everything is stack against it. The majority of us do not like and religion is up in arms whenever they find a chance to talk against it.

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We all saw how a State function organised to pray for rain in Lilongwe last month turned into an anti-gay rally where speaker after speaker from all manner of religious inclinations chorused against homosexuality and that it was responsible for our incurring God’s wrath to deny us rain.

As for the DPPgovernment, it is caughtbetween a hard placeand a rock. When Joyce Banda showed some signs of softening up on homosexuality under pressure from donors, DPP as an opposition party was on top of its voice roasting the PP government.

Today it is DPP’s turn. It is under pressure from the West to legalise homosexuality, something it cannot do as there is a strong lobby against it from conservative voters and an opposition that is ready to pounce should the ruling party relent.

A moratorium against the application of Section 153 of the Penal Code was an easy way out as it seemed to placate both the donors and Malawians in general.

Unfortunately, some pastors in Mzuzu had other things on their mind and they moved the court this week against the moratorium.

Their wish was granted and we are back to square one where the law enforcing machinery can move to arrest and prosecute homosexuals. I find this a problem.

Culture and religion are stuck against homosexuality and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Is there no more humane way of approaching the problem than sending these people to the dirty gallows as the pastors in Mzuzu want, despite religion and culture?

Yes, as the court and others have noted, it is illegal for government to suspend any law as it opens room for abuse, but isn’t the context different here?

Surely there are hardcore criminals out there—the murderers, rapists and thieves of our tax. These should be locked up as they are a menace to our society. They deprive us of peace and safety.

But can we bracket these evil-minded thugs with homosexuals that don’t do any physical harm to anybody? How different are they from, say, adulterers or prostitutes that line up our streets as early as 6 o’Clock in the evening at Kamba, Bwandiro or God-knowswhere, looking for cash in exchange for sex?

Why can’t the pastors also go to court to ask government to lock up adulterers and prostitutes?

The pastors are clearly abrogating their responsibility and mortgaging it to the State for it to arrest sinners.

The pastors have failed to show God’s mercy and preach to the homosexuals to change their ways. Instead they want the State to do it on their behalf.

I would have understood if someone, let us say Kenneth Msonda, he who was saved by the Director of Public Prosecutions after he was dragged to court for saying gays should be killed, went to court demanding that government drops the moratorium.

Pastors, by their very calling, should show mercy and compassion to advance a humane way of treating sinners such as homosexuals.

Bad Week

The Blantyre Synod of the CCAP Church leadership led by general secretary Alex Maulana had a bad week for not letting go of elections by-gones and wanting to victimise fellow reverend, Stanley Chimesya, all because he was not in his camp.

We all believe churches are not mere secular clubs where hatred and politics of kuthana take place. On the contrary, we believe churches are guided by the Holy Spirit where forgiveness and brotherhood reign.

Yet what is happening in the Synod is just like what obtains in politics. It is hard to imagine that these reverends are fighting over a simple vehicle.

Lawyers have been hired just to make sure that the vehicle donated by a politician, Joyce Banda, is taken away from Chimesya.

Honestly, I do not see where the problem is because Chimesya belongs to the Synod and has not retired to warrant his non-use of the Nissan Sentra.

The Blantyre Synod leadership is a big let down to its many Christians who are wondering where their church is going. The leadership had a bad week.

Good Week

Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe had a good week for coming out of Capital Hill to face Malawians through Times TV’s Point Blank with host Bayana Chunga.

It is common knowledge that we are living in an economy that has literally tanked. The kwacha continues to tumble down big time as inflation is biting us very hard with prices of all essential goods skyrocketing, thereby eating into our static incomes.

Companies cannot produce enough as they have to contend with price fluctuations of raw material imports on daily basis.

Gondwe’s words during the interview did nothing to assuage any of our pain or offer prospects for the future.

In fact, Gondwe took the opportunity to qualify the statement that he made earlier this year to the effect that our economic problems would be over by May.

He now says that depends on the amount of rain the country receives and the food we harvest.

So far, the rain is not satisfactory and so we should brace for trouble and that is what the Finance Minister was essentially saying.

This is bad news but Gondwe was brave and candid to break it to us. He had a good week. We need someone just to, at least, pretend that they are aware of our problems and are doing something about it no matter how remote it might be.

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