A musician and Member of the Malawi Parliament has said that he ended a Christmas Day concert early because he spotted two men caressing and kissing in the audience.
The Nyasa Times reports that Lucius Chiccio Banda, MP for Balaka North (United Democratic Front-UDF), ended the concert with his Zembani Band at Zithere Pano in Mangochi early because he spotted two men kissing.
Fans were left confused when he left the stage, and he later took to his Facebook page to apologize, explaining what had caused him to leave call a halt to the show. He also said he had not drawn attention to the men at the time because he believed that they would have been set upon by the crowd:
‘Let me apologize to my fans for what happened yesterday. Even though I had two more songs to perform I had problems to continue after I noticed two men intimately engaging each other to the extent of kissing each other…
‘The fact is that most people in the country are not for homosexuality and having made me mention them in public would have gotten the two men assaulted surely…
‘I’m not musically funded by any western country. My donors who are God the father, the Son and the Holy Ghost [provide funding to me] with a no sodomy condition attached.’
His Facebook posting has drawn over 1,000 comments at the time of writing, with some fans praising his actions but many others criticizing him for ending the show early.
One of those to criticize Banda was LGBTI campaigner Gift Tuppence of the Centre for the Development of People (Cedep). He told Malawi Watchdog:
‘It is unlikely that LGBT people would be kissing at a concert by Lucius Banda who has been recently expressing hate of gays on social media. This was likely staged by people aiming to incite further hatred from him.
‘It is also important to remind Lucius that Malawi is a secular State and everyone is entitled to attend public events in this country. When he says that gays are not allowed at his concerts he should know that such events have no place in this country.
‘He should also be reminded that he is a secular musician who goes to beer drinking joints to entertain people. His shows are attended by different groups of people with different backgrounds and you cannot discriminate or insult such people based on whatever grounds.’
Yesterday, a riled Banda responded again via Facebook.
‘I would like to make a cursory response to the statement made by Gift TRAPENCE on the issue relating to my Facebook status in which I registered my disgust over the actions of an openly gay couple kissing at Zitherepano.
‘Let me begin by stating that I am a believer in traditional African values and therefore I have a God given right to comment on contemporary issues affecting malawians. If Mr TRAPENCE has the audacity to call me homophobic I have the right to retort and call Trapence Heterophobic.
‘Let him not fool malawians that there is global consensus on Lesbianism Gayism. Even in the United States … the issue Is polarised among the Democrats and republicans. The Democrats have a liberal view whereas republicans hold a traditional view that marriage is between a man and a woman. I am a man who upholds these traditional views and I have no apologies to make. I am a firm believer in natural law.
‘By nature, we know that opposites attract. When they do not, something is intrinsically wrong.
‘As Uhuru Kenyatta said to Obama recently the issue of homosexuality in Africa is a non issue. It must not be used to foster a culture or a philosophy on a people. Let change come originally on this issue not through force and imperial means. In this regard, I propose that malawi as country seriously considers holding a referendum on this matter to put this issue to rest! I rest my case!!’
Same-sex sexual activity remains illegal in Malawi and LGBT people face widespread discrimination within Malawi society. The country is currently undertaking a High Court review of the constitutionality of its specific anti-gay laws.