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AFRICA BY COUNTRY ~ Malawi

 

Unprotected lives - Malawi

 

7 March 2016, Malawi

On January 2, 2016, Ken Msonda, the spokesperson of the People's Party, wrote on his facebook page, LGBT people are worse than dogs and Malawians should kill them. CEDEP, CHRR and the Malawi Law Society charged Msonda for breaking Malawi's constitutional law. In this media report they speak about this fight against hate towards LGBT persons.

 

Civil Society Stand United Against Hate Speech In Malawi

 

22 January 2016. By Iranti, Blantyre

The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions of Malawi to issue a discontinuance against the matter in which Msonda was charged for his Kill the Gays statement was of great concern to key leaders of civil society. 

 Welcome to the warm heart of Africa billboard with the face of honourable Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Welcome to the warm heart of Africa billboard with the face of honourable Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

 

Civil society leaders from the religious sector, youth and human rights sector met in Blantyre to collective decide that a judicial review is required to decided on the Director of Public Prosecutions decision.   There remains a collective action by civil society to stop all forms of hate speech towards all vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the LGBTI community of Malawi. 

Neighbourhood of Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Neighbourhood of Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

 

Organisations such as MANARELA, the Pentecostal Revive Church, YOCRIS, CEDEP and CHRR agreed to continue working on the Msonda case as a collective. Iranti agreed to support the advocacy initiative, by documenting and reporting on the LGBTI human rights situation in Malawi.

Left to right; Gift Trapence with Dunker Kamba from Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP)                                Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right: Gift Trapence with Dunker Kamba from Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right; Gift Trapence Director at CEDEP together with Timothy Mtambo Director at CHRR. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right; Gift Trapence Director at CEDEP together with Timothy Mtambo Director at CHRR. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bishop Joshua Jere, speaking against Kill The Gays Statement. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bishop Joshua Jere, speaking against Kill The Gays Statement. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bright Kampaunai, Youth and Children Rights Shield (YOCRIS). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bright Kampaunai, Youth and Children Rights Shield (YOCRIS). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right: MacDonald Sembereka, Bright Kampaunai, Gift Trapence, Jabulani Pereira, Timothy Mtambo and Bishop Johua Jere. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right: MacDonald Sembereka, Bright Kampaunai, Gift Trapence, Jabulani Pereira, Timothy Mtambo and Bishop Johua Jere. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

 

Msonda is off the hook. For now.

By Jabulani Pereira

 

Blantyre, Malawi, 21 January 2016
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Malawi has urgently issued a notice of discontinuance in the case of The Republic and Kenneth Msonda. The DPP has used its legal powers to stop Kenneth Msonda from appearing in court for his Kill the Gays statements.

On January 2, Msonda posted the following comments on his facebook page “Government should come up clear on the issue of Gays and Lesbians. They are worse than dogs, sons and daughters of the evil one – Arresting them won’t address this problem because sooner or later they are being released on bail. The best way to deal with this problem is to KILL them!” Msonda at an interview with radio Joy reiterated these comments stating, “by releasing these people, it means Malawi is a lawless country. These people have no rights. The best way is to kill them.”

Msonda was charged by the Malawi Law Society, CEDEP and CHRR for breaking the law and for inciting hatred and violence. The court found sufficient reasons for Msonda to be appear and defend his claims. Msonda’s legal argument and affidavit sent to the court quotes biblical verses on why homosexuality should not be condoned and he argues that he has a right to freedom of expression and opinion.

CEDEP Director, Gift Trapence and CHRR Director, Timothy Mtambo, both arrived in Blantyre to face Msonda in court. Their legal representative Soko was called this afternoon by the DPP’s office stating that they will stop this case from proceeding by issuing a notice of discontinuance. The constitution and the criminal procedure and evidence code gives the DPP powers to discontinue a matter. The reactions by both Directors are ones of shock and disbelief that the government would protect a politician from being legally accountable for inciting hatred and violence. “Msonda committed a criminal act and he should be held accountable for violating the laws of Malawi. The government’s action in stopping this case sends a wrong message to the nation. They are saying killing Gay people is fine. Interference such as this is dangerous in any democratic society. How then is the right to life guaranteed, if the incitement and promotion murder is protected by the state?” asks Trapence.
2016 Msonda - Gift Trapence

Gift Trapence, Director of CEDEP. Photo by Ayanda Msiza

 

Hate speech cases are not new to the Malawi courts. In 2008, political leader Gwanda Chakwamba called on the public to attack the Lomwe people. The late President Bingu wa Mutharika is Lomwe. Chakwamba was arrested and appeared before the court. In addition the government has used laws to charge and arrest Journalists who criticize the President. The late Ralph Tenthani was charged for calling the President “a Big Kahuna.”

2016 Msonda - Justice Hard work

Creating a progressive nation? Photo by: Jabulani Pereira

 

Since the utterances of Msonda, a new movement called Youth with Vision placed an advert in several print newspapers calling on the public to support

Msonda’s legal case. They called upon the public to join Msonda at the court and to show their support against homosexuality and same-­‐sex marriage. The newspapers published the banking details of the fund that is set up to support Msonda. “We want the Malawi Human Rights Commission to investigate as this contravenes the law of the country. Can a fund be set up to support someone who has called on others to kill gay people? Is a bank allowed to open such an account?” asks Trapence. Mtambo the Director of CHRR says, “killing of human beings has no basis in any society. There is no justification for what the DPP has done and we will not stop here. We have an obligation to ensure that all Malawians live in a free and safe society.”

 

YOCRIS, CAYO and FND are youth movements in Malawi. They have joined CEDEP and CHRR in the legal fight against Msonda. They will collectively discuss the next steps in reviewing the DPP’s decision and ensuring that Msonda is held accountable.

Jabulani Pereira is the Director of Iranti-­‐org, a regional Transgender and Lesbian documentation and reporting organization. Iranti-­‐org is based in Johannesburg.

For more information contact: getinfo@iranti.org.za

 

Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP)

Malawi, 21 October 2014

2014 Report on Human Rights violations on the basis of real or perceived Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Malawi. Read the report...

2014 CEDEP report on human rights violations in Malawi

 

 

 

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