Malawi to review anti-gay law

Malawi has announced that it will review a list of legislation, including a ban on homosexual acts. “In view of the sentiments from the general public and in response to public opinion regarding certain laws, the government wishes to announce to the Malawi nation that it is submitting the relevant laws and provisions of laws to the Law Commission for review.” Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume said in a statement.

Chiume said the government would review provisions of the penal code concerning “indecent practices and unnatural acts”

This comes hot on the heels of an announcement by the Unites States Government that it considers how countries treat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens when allocating foreign aid.

In October, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that his country would slash aid to African countries with poor records on homosexual rights.

Last year, a gay couple were sentenced to 14 years in prison for sodomy but were later pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika following international outrage.

Several donors including US, Britain, German suspended their aid to Malawi citing concerns at the deterioration of governance and human rights records in Malawi.

The IMF has urged Malawi, which depends on hand-outs to fund as much as 40 percent of its budget, to mend fences with donors to ensure aid flow to the country starts again and avert an economic disaster.

Other laws set for review include provisions that empowers the Information minister to ban newspapers; law against suits by or against the government and public officers; Local Courts Act 2011 and section 35 of the Police Act, 2010 — which empowers police to search or make an arrest without providing reasons.

In July, at least 18 people were killed in two days of public unrest sparked by worsening fuel shortages, rising prices and high unemployment.

by Tatenda Malan – Africa News