02/17/2010- by Natasia Langfelder
While our eyes have been trained on the Uganda “kill-the-gays” bill, Malawi has quietly started their own witch hunt against their LGBT citizens. Malawi is a small country in southeast, that is both desperately poor and densely populated. Malawi first truly entered the American consciousness when Madonna began adopting children from the region. Despite the country’s restrictions on adoptions by foreigners, Madonna’s fame and money persuaded the cash-strapped country to let her adopt two children. Both of the adopted children had living relatives in the country. Now, Malawi officials are again revealing the depth of corruption that is rotting the core of the already crumbling country.
Malawi police are hunting down and arresting high-profile gays and lesbians. A spokesperson for the Malawian police, Dave Chingwalu, said that a 60-year-old man was arrested yesterday and charged with sodomy. He continued to say that police investigations had uncovered a network of high-profile people involved homosexual acts, investigations were under way “and we will arrest them all.”
This round-up comes on the heels of a gay Malawian couple being arrested and tried after they held a private marriage ceremony. The men, Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were charged with unnatural acts and gross indecency and could be imprisoned for up to 14 years if found guilty.
The UK Guardian is providing the most coverage on the Malawi witch hunt. They spoke with Phumi Mtetwa who had the following to say:
Campaigners in Malawi say homophobic legislation is driving gays and lesbians underground, making them hard to reach with information that could protect them from Aids.”In Malawi it’s a complete witch-hunt that denies the people the right to self-determination,” said Phumi Mtetwa, executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, based in South Africa. “We are deeply concerned about this spate of homophobia across the continent.”
Mtetwa said the recent series of incidents was no accident but rather the work of US evangelical Christian groups. “It’s very well calculated. It’s exploding at the moment but it’s been happening for a year and a half. We have proof of American evangelical churches driving the religious fundamentalism in Uganda.”
Mtetwa said the recent series of incidents was no accident but rather the work of US evangelical Christian groups. “It’s very well calculated. It’s exploding at the moment but it’s been happening for a year and a half. We have proof of American evangelical churches driving the religious fundamentalism in Uganda.
You Can read all of the Guardian’s coverage of the anti-LGBT activities in Malawi here: