Young pastors threaten to sue government
The Young Pastors’ Coalition of Malawi (YPCM) is dragging government and Malawi Police Service to court for contempt of court for allegedly abetting and commissioning homosexuals in the country even after the moratorium was thrown out by the High Court.
In a statement co-signed by the coalition’s Director Patrick Banda, General Secretary Tusalifye Mbeye and Joseph Chavula, released over the weekend, the group argues that by failing to resume arrests and prosecution of gays after a stay order was granted, the State undermines the court and the act is a serious breach of constitutionalism.
The group further blames Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) for releasing its survey results last week in which it claimed that there are over 4,000 gays in Mzuzu alone. The pastors have since asked Cedep to present details of the said individuals to police to effect arrests or otherwise face legal implications.
“We note with dismay that the Executive Branch of Government is not paying any attention to orders of stay and injunction… We are strongly advised that the conduct of the State in maintaining the moratorium by not even investigating, arresting or prosecuting homosexuals amounts to contempt of The High Court of Malawi,” reads the statement in part.
“We reserve our right to commence contempt of court proceedings against officials deemed to be in contempt of court. 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,” it adds.
In the statement, the group then calls for re-arrests and resumption of cases against Lilongwe based suspected gays Kelvin Gonani and Cuthbert Kulemera who were
unconditionally released from police custody.
Asked as to why government failed to adhere to the court order, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said that people including the young pastors should allow government to do its work of protecting its citizens properly.
“Can I ask the pastors to behave like men of God by being forgiving and understanding. They should have followed a better route of addressing the issue not the one they took. Otherwise, it is not their call to enforce the law but government does,” said Tembenu.
Chancellor College law expert, Edge Kanyongolo, said in an interview that legally, government has what is called prosecutorial discretion in which it has powers to decide on whether to resume charges placed against a suspect or not based on whether it has sufficient interest in the matter or if it is in the interest of the general public.
This comes two months after the young pastors obtained the injunction calling for continued arrests of gays which was later challenged by government through Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale. The AG argued that the group does not have sufficient interest in the matter.
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