Showing posts with label Malawi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malawi. Show all posts

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gay Malawi Couple Breaks Up and One Seeks Traditional Heterosexual Marriage

     The story of the gay couple from Malawi that was convicted, sentenced to fourteen years in prison, and then pardoned after they held an engagement ceremony in December continues to grow more tragic.  After their release, fear of retribution and death threats drove one of the two to seek a "more acceptable" and "church-approved" alternative.

     The news that gay couple whose 14-year prison sentence for their love affair led to international condemnation, have split over a girl, excited some Malawians who thought this was the way to bury the issue of homosexual in the country.
     Steven Monjeza, 26, said he had left his partner, Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, because he had been coerced into the gay relationship and found a better match with a 24-year-old woman named Dorothy.  Zomba based businessman cum politician Sudi Adak Sulaiman ha for the past few days visited Monjeza at his home in Chirimba, Blantyre in an effort to encourage and give him some money in support of his [heterosexual] wedding plans.  According to Monjeza’s neighbors, Sulaimana in the company of reporters visited the house of Monjeza on Tuesday and found him drunk...
     When Nyasa Times tried to find out about Monjeza’s new sweet heart, it was discovered that she is a prostitute (hooker) who stays in a one roomed apartment behind one of the bars in Chirimba...
     Gay rights campaigners blame the couple’s breakup on fears of violent retribution. Monjeza’s uncle was reportedly determined to prevent them from getting back together after being released.  Chimbalanga was warned not to set foot in the village or they would “deal with him.”
     How sad.  In Malawi, it is better to drink one's self to death and marry a prostitute than to be with the one you love.  

     Of course, while legally gays can't be put in jail for being gay in the U.S., the psychological and religious pressure is the same for many homosexuals here.  I know closeted gays that have turned to drink and prostitutes rather than come out of the closet.  Praise traditional religious praxis.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gay Malawi Couple Is Pardoned by President, to be Released Tomorrow

     Here is some shocking good news!  Yesterday, President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi pardoned Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga.  He did so under pressure from UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon, who is visiting the nation, and Sir Elton John.

     Last week, the Malawi couple was sentenced to the maximum sentence of fourteen years in prison for their crime of having an engagement ceremony.  Hopefully, when they are released, they will be well protected.  They have been in custody since December.

     Mr Ban hailed the president's decision as "courageous." "This outdated penal code should be reformed wherever it may exist," he said. The BBC's Karen Allen, in Lilongwe, says Mr Ban is trying to put pressure on parliamentarians to reform anti-homosexuality laws that date back to colonial times.
     Correspondents say Malawi is a deeply conservative society where religious leaders equate same-sex liaisons with Satanism.
     Mr Mutharika, who has in the past dismissed homosexuality as alien, said he had set them free on humanitarian grounds. "In all aspects of reasoning, in all aspects of human understanding, these two gay boys were wrong - totally wrong," he said after meeting Mr Ban. "However, now that they have been sentenced, I as the president of this country have the powers to pronounce on them and therefore, I have decided that with effect from today, they are pardoned and they will be released."
     Translation: I think they are still satanic, but I didn't want to lose my funding.

     Still, we'll take it as a victory against the Gospel According to Hate.  Let's hope that this is a sign of much needed change in a part of the world, where so many nations still outlaw homosexuality.

(Image from JoeMyGod)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gay Malawi Couple Gets Maximum Jail Sentence

     A very sad day in Malawi for human rights.

     A judge in Malawi has imposed a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison with hard labour on a gay couple convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts.  The judge said he wanted to protect the public from "people like you".
     Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, have been in jail since they were arrested in December after holding an engagement ceremony.   The case has sparked international condemnation and a debate about homosexuality in the country.
     The case has ignited debate over homosexuality in Malawi, a conservative country where religious leaders equate same-sex liaisons with Satanism.
     The Guardian reports:
     Peter Tatchell, the veteran British gay rights campaigner, has maintained contact with the pair at the maximum security Chichiri prison...Tatchell told the Guardian he received a defiant message from Chimbalanga that said: "I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless."
Look at the smiling faces in the crowd.
They are 55% Protestant , 20% Roman Catholic , 20% Muslim.
What happened to love thy neighbor?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gay Malawi Couple Convicted for Engagement Ceremony

     A gay couple in Malawi has been convicted for having an engagement celebration and will likely go to jail.  When released (if they survive prison), they will face death threats and probably have to flee their country.
     A judge convicted a gay couple Tuesday of charges that could send them to jail for more than a decade following an engagement celebration ...Tiwonge Chimbalanga, a 20-year-old hotel janitor, and his unemployed partner Steven Monjeza, 26, were arrested the day after they celebrated their engagement with a party at the hotel where Chimbalanga worked — an apparent first in Malawi.
     The couple were convicted of unnatural acts and gross indecency under laws dating from the colonial era. Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa said the sentencing will take place on Thursday and they could be imprisoned for up to 14 years.
     Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries in Africa including Malawi. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill that could sentence homosexuals to life in prison and includes capital punishment for "repeat offenders." Even in South Africa, the only African country that recognizes gay rights, gangs have raped lesbians.
     Mwakasungula said the two Malawian men were concerned that if they were released, they could be attacked by Malawians who have threatened them. But given the laws and the climate in Malawi, he said a guilty verdict had been expected.
     The government, backed by Malawi church leaders, says it is clear the two men broke the law. Religious officials say homosexuality is "sinful" and the West should not be allowed to use its financial power to force Malawi to accept homosexuality. Malawi relies on donors for 40 percent of its development budget.
     Malawi is 55% Protestant and 20% Catholic.  How's that for the traditional value of love thy neighbor?