The Malawi Government has swiftly denied media reports that it pocketed huge funds from Western country for the promotion of gay activities.
On Friday, a local news paper accused government of double standards saying it received about Mk11 billion to be promoting gay activities when it is demonizing some Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) for doing the same.
But speaking at a press conference in Lilongwe today, Principal Secretary for Health Responsible for HIV and AIDS, Dr. Mary Shaba said the money in question was directed to several organizations including the centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Centre for Human Right and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Family Life and the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine.
“There has been no money coming direct to government to support gay activities. The said money went directly to several organizations that carried out researches on gays in relationship to HIV and AIDS,” she said.
About two weeks ago, Health rights lawyer Chrispine Sibande said Malawi should design special HIV and AIDS mitigating programmes targeting the homosexuals as their prevalence rate is hovering around 21 percent.
21 percent is over double the national HIV prevalence rate which is currently at 10 percent.
Sibande said the percentage is alarming saying policy makers are left with no choice but to incorporate this minority section of the society if the battle against the pandemic is to be won.
“We should not rule out HIV services to the gay community on the basis of what the law says about them. If we had special programs focusing on gays we can reduce that,” he said.
Currently, Malawi laws criminalise homosexuality. It is also a widely held belief among Malawians that homosexuality works against the country’s cultural beliefs while the religious community argues that the practice is against God’s definition of a marriage.