Government says while it respects freedom of worship, it will not allow controversial United States of America (USA) Pastor Steven Anderson to set up a church in Malawi.
Anderson, who is the head of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, has on numerous occasions called for the killing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, remarks that earned him a ban in Botswana and South Africa.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Malison Ndau, the official government spokesperson, said government cannot specifically allow the pastor to come to Malawi because of the message he is advocating.
He said: “Thinking of coming to set up a church here with such ideologies cannot be allowed. If he is coming to push for his ideologies then we are not going to allow that. The ideologies are against human rights which the Government of Malawi respects.”
In the meantime, there is a Facebook page with the name ‘Faithful Word Baptist Church Malawi’. As of yesterday, the page had 489 likes. Despite lacking detailed information, several postings have been made.
In January this year, politician Ken Msonda, while serving as People’s Party (PP) spokesperson and administrative secretary, got into trouble for calling for thekilling of gays as the best way to deal with homosexuality.
After Msonda’s social media post, Malawi Law Society (MLS) demanded investigations by authorities on the remarks.
However, Msonda’s case was discontinued by the court after the State, through Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale, filed a discontinuance notice in line with Section 77 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code (CP and EC).
In August, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda referred back to the High Court the discontinued case. This followed an application for judicial review filed by Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) against the Republic after the State withdrew the criminal proceedings. n