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Malawian Opposition attacks plans to decriminalize gay sex

The Malawian Opposition has attacked plans by President Joyce Banda to decriminalize sex between men, warning that it might lead to same-sex marriage and asking if her strings are being pulled by foreign aid donors
Malawian President Joyce Banda

Malawi’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has attacked plans by President Joyce Banda to decriminalize sex between men.

Banda used her first State of the Nation address in May to affirm that her administration would repeal the country’s anti-sodomy laws after the idea was first mooted by Malawi’s Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume in December last year.

However DDP Secretary General Wakuda Kamanga attacked the plans in an op-ed in the Maravi Post on Friday, accusing Banda of wanting to turn Malawi into a ‘homosexual nation’ while warning that decriminalization could be a back door to same-sex marriage.

‘The DDP is deeply concerned with such steps that are happening outside the views of the people,’ Kamaga wrote.

‘[The] DPP suggests that any repeal or amendment to such laws should take into account the voices of the people and Malawians should be the ultimate decision makers on whether this country should open up to same-sex relationships, gay marriages and similar affairs.’

‘The DPP strongly urges the current administration to come [into] the open and declare their position on same-sex marriages.’

Kamanga attacked a speech which Sir Elton John had made during last month’s AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington in which he had praised Malawi’s plans to reform laws that criminalized men who have sex with men.

John had congratulated Banda for, ‘taking strides to embrace HIV positive persons and sexual minorities, including homosexuals.’

Kamanga asked if Banda was being controlled by outside forces.

‘Is Malawi and the current administration under pressure to allow homosexuality from the international community in exchange for aid?’ Kamanga wrote.

'We call upon Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda to tread carefully on homosexuality issues and carefully weigh foreign interests against the interests of Malawians.

‘The current administration should not sacrifice the broader interests of all Malawians for the love of silver in the form of donor money.’

Malawi currently punishes sex between men with up to 14 years imprisonment.

Banda was the Vice President of Malawi prior to forming her own party, the People’s Party, in 2011 after being expelled from the DPP.

Banda had refused to endorse former President Bingu wa Mutharika’s younger brother Peter Mutharika to be the country’s next president following his death.

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