Malawi to overturn homosexual ban, Joyce Banda says

President Joyce Banda has said Malawi will overturn its ban on homosexual acts – the first African country to do so since 1994.

“Some laws which were duly passed by this august House and were referred back to the Malawi Law Commission will be repealed, as a matter of urgency, and these include:

· section 46 of the Penal Code (Cap7:01);

· the provisions regarding indecent practices and unnatural acts contained in sections 137A and 153 – 156 of the Penal Code”  said the Malawi president.

Two Malawian men were sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2010 after saying they were getting married.

Several Western leaders have recently said they would cut aid to countries which did not recognise gay rights.

Mrs Banda took power last month after her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, died of a heart attack.

She has since reversed several of his policies, including devaluing the currency, in a bid to get donor funding restored.

Many donors cut aid under Mr Mutharika, accusing him of economic mismanagement and political repression.

After a storm of international condemnation, he did pardon the two Malawian men on “humanitarian grounds only” but said they had “committed a crime against our culture, against our religion, and against our laws”.

Homosexual acts are illegal in most African countries.

In Uganda, an MP recently introduced a bill which stipulated the death penalty could be imposed for some homosexual offences, although he has since said he now wants this changed to life in prison.

South Africa is the only African country where same-sex marriages are legal – discrimination based on sexual orientation was banned after a new constitution was introduced when white minority rule ended in 1994.

‘Attempted coup’

In a speech to parliament, which was broadcast live on national radio, Mrs Banda said: “The Indecency and Unnatural Acts laws shall be repealed.”

Earlier this month, Mrs Banda said she did not want Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir to attend an African Union summit Malawi is hosting in July.

She said she feared the “economic implications” if Mr Bashir visited the country in defiance of an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges over the conflict in Darfur.

Relations with donors have already improved under Mrs Banda and the UK, which had been extremely critical of Mr Mutharika, is now urging other donors to restore funding as soon as possible.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and aid used to make up a large proportion of the national budget.

Mrs Banda was elected vice-president as Mr Mutharika’s running mate in 2009 but the pair had since fallen out.

When the president died, there were reports that Mr Mutharika’s allies attempted to sidestep the constitution to prevent her succeeding him.

Mrs Banda also announced that an official inquiry would be opened into this “attempted coup” and the circumstances of Mr Mutharika’s death. – BBC News

92 Comments for “Malawi to overturn homosexual ban, Joyce Banda says”

  1. That’s it Malawians this opportunistic govt has started robbing people their morals and values. Malawi up for sale. Bingu anali woyipa pamenepa anakana za ugay, they squeezed him so that Malawians should hate him and they succeed, because all we wanted was they donor. The Civil Society, the Malawi Law Society and PAC where are they now, why are they silent now. Strange eti

  2. Unwarried officer

    The President should consult Churches,and chiefs,or she loose elections. Villages hates this because our forefathers and mothers have never practiced these evil ways of living. She need to consult her church in Nigeria.

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