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Religious leaders lead Malawians in anti-homosexuality march

Most Rev. George Desmond Tambala presenting petition to Hon Yusuf Nthanda

By Edwin Mauluka

Scores of Malawians across the country, took to the street on Thursday to express their disapproval with proposals to stop criminalization of homosexuality in the country.

Led by different religious mother bodies, the national wide march dubbed “In defense of marriage, family, and human sexuality” took place in various districts including Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu, Zomba, Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi and Rumphi.

The petition has asked the Malawi president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his cabinet as well as members of parliament to reject proposals to legalize homosexuality in the country’s constitution.

“We request the Executive branch of Government not to succumb to pressure from other circles” reads part of the statement adding that should there be need to change the laws, the voices of the majority of the people should be engaged through a referendum.

Besides cautioning the international community to respect Malawi sovereignty, religious leaders have also asked members of Parliament to exercise their legislative function by coming up with laws that strengthen the family and guard against practices which would undermine the moral fabric in this country.

“We are aware that the majority of the activists pushing the same sex agenda in this country mostly do it for money and not necessarily based on convictions. We therefore urge all such groups to seriously reflect on their actions and respect God’s divine order and the will of the majority of the Malawian people.” Adds the statement

In Lilongwe, the march started from Mtima Woyera Parish of the Arch Diocese of Lilongwe to Parliament building via Mchesi.

In defense of marriage, family, and human sexuality march

The petition was received by the Chairperson for Legal Affairs Hon. Yusuf Nthenda who promised that parliament will consider the petition. But, he urged Malawians to live in harmony with the homosexual (LGBTQI) community.

Some legislators and the Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu joined the march near the parliament roundabout to parliament building where the petition was delivered.

The march was organized by five religious bodies Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM) and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM).

Position, fears by the religious groups on homosexuality

Through the march, religious leaders expressed concern with attempts towards the legalization of homosexuality which they described as “sinful and unnatural acts” which threaten “the continuity of the society” and “direct threat to humanity as established by God.”

Sheikh Saiti Jambo reading the petition as members of parliament listen attentively

When reading the petition at parliament building in Lilongwe, Sheikh Saiti Jambo, Executive Director of QMAM said religious leaders stand for what is culturally and morally right as Malawians and for the common belief that God created and ordained marriage to be between male and female.

He said marriage, family and human sexuality are under direct attack by those pushing for Malawi to legalize homosexual practices and unions since any relationship contrary to this “is unacceptable scripturally and therefore a perversion of God’s own Law.”

“We are aware that the majority of Malawians do not support efforts to normalize same-sex relations. It is therefore important for Malawians to strongly stand against any attempt by the adversaries of family to redefine the institution of family under the pretext of reviewing those laws that criminalize homosexuality or even invalidating or replacing them.” Said Sheikh Jambo

He said religious leaders fear that legalizing same sex relationships will directly infringe religious liberties as churches will be forced to marry same sex couples in their churches even against their own spiritual convictions.

“Legalizing same sex marriages would promote the moral decay in our society as our children and young people in schools and colleges will openly be taught homosexuality as being normal. This is an unacceptable behaviour.” Added Sheikh Jambo

He continued that religious groups consider homosexual practice is an abnormality which require pastoral care, counselling and support to reform those practicing it.

Sheikh Jambo said the petition propose that any change of laws that criminalize homosexuality should be done by the will of the majority of the citizens through either a referendum or through the peoples’ representatives in Parliament.

“Any other route to change such a key law is tantamount to undermining the cardinal principle which respects the will of the majority.” He said

Most Rev. Tambala – “if we cannot alert this nation to what we see is coming I think we will be failing as religious leaders”

Speaking after presenting the petition, Most Rev. Archbishop George Desmond Tambala of Lilongwe Arch Diocese and President of ECM said the central message of the march was to remind all Malawians to defend the marriage and caution on the risks of allowing change of definition of marriage.

He added that this was to alert the nation because “if we cannot alert this nation to what we see is coming I think we will be failing as religious leaders.”

Most Rev Tambala said religious groups have observed that there is growing global lobby for homosexuality which has affected many countries including Malawi which currently has a court case on legalization of homosexuality.

“We are also seeing on social media that there is a lot of campaign which is a propaganda that we should go in this line of change.” said the President of ECM

“We have also delivered the message to our donor partners that in as much as they help us but, Malawi is a country that is sovereign and should be given its respect. That we shouldn’t be given a condition that we will receive aid by changing the definition of marriage.” He added

Moses Kunkuyu & parliamentarians joins religious leaders during the march

Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu downplayed fears of changing the law saying the executive arm of government and the parliament has no agenda to change the law.

“Let me also say that there is a law in this country, and the law is very clear. The status quo as it is now, is that the same sex marriages are not allowed in Malawi. That’s what the law says. And any agenda to change that law is nowhere in the business of parliament, neither in the business committee, neither is it there in any office of the executive arm of government. There hasn’t been any such agenda.” Kunkuyu said

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