The Malawi Government’s moratorium on arresting gays for their so-called indecent acts has revealed how intolerant, unaccommodating, unbending and extremist we, Malawians, particularly our so-called leaders, can be when confronted with a completely new and different discourse.
Some weeks ago People’s Party (PP) publicity secretary, Ken Msonda, was quoted as saying gays and all those in same sex relationships, that is, those who practice homosexuality, mathanyula, are worse than dogs, and should not just be jailed, but killed to obliterate them.
Fortunately, the argument from regular Christian and Muslim leaders alike is not as extremist as what Msonda is said to have said. However, except for one or two ‘modern or commercial’ church leaders, the majority of the leaders have lambasted the donor community for imposing foreign, meaning Western, cultural and sexual practices on an otherwise sexually pure and innocent society that is Malawi.
Only recently, Malawi’s religious leaders forgot to pray for rain during the so-called national prayers for rain in Lilongwe (we seem to be copying too much from Zambia!), instead they prayed against homosexuality through and through. Only last week, the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP in Mzuzu forgot to pray for Rose Chibambo’s spirit as her remains were about to be interred in wait for the day of judgement. Instead it prayed against homosexuality.
There the Rev. Levi Nyondo was applauded, according to media reports, when he declared, scone-in-mouth, that if donors tie their aid to Malawi’s adoption of homosexuality, then we, Malawians, would rather do without their foreign aid or bilateral assistance that finances the development budget of the Malawi budget annually.
Well, we, Most Native Authority Mandela, Alhaj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD) who only returned from the Saudi Arabia yesterday, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, and I, the Mohashoi, verily say unto you all Malawians, and beseech you all, not to hearken to Msonda’s murderous words and to vociferously ignore Rev Nyondo’s choice.
Aid, we have said it before, is not free. Even a greeting or a smile is not free, Edward Chitsulo used to say. So we should not be surprised if Western aid is tied to Western values. That is the price we pay for being unproductive, unthinking, un-independent and dependent on exogenous support.
As an expedition, we don’t like homosexuality. And, almost all Malawians we have met in rural areas say they abhor homosexuality. However, not even one has suggested that gays—whose presence in Malawi our governments have severally acknowledged through health and aids prevention campaign documents–should be stoned to death. None we have met so far has compared gays, otherwise known in Cashgate City, as ‘mathanyula practitioners’ to dogs or any other animals.
Biologically speaking, generally human beings are worse than dogs because dogs do not engage in sexual relationships for fun and money like human beings do. They don’t even bother about same sex relationships. Animals engage in sexual relationships for procreation and nothing else.
Religiously speaking, if really homosexuality is sin, then leave the killing of such people to God because ALL of us, the Bible says, have fallen short of the behavioural perfection God demanded of us. We are here, continues the Bible because of God’s mercy.
Legally speaking, this country, poor as it is, has laws for all to obey. The law demands that we respect the right to life of ALL Malawians, including that of serial murderers, serial Cashgatists, serial prostitutes, serial rapists, and serial liars, such as Escom and Blantyre Water Board. Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi and that is the only argument that Msonda and Nyondo can cite to justify their call for the banning of gay performances in this federal republic.
Economically and developmentally speaking, we find it interesting that the very people whose life depends on foreign assistance should talk about Malawi getting no aid.
Look around you. Without South African, European and Chinese, the Cashgate City, Lilongwe, would not have been built. Imagine this. Without British and American money the University of Malawi, Mzuzu University, Luanar, Must would not have been built.
Reflect. Without EU money Fisp would not have been implemented. Ponder this. Without Western funds we would not have sustainable five-year voting cycle that the multiparty system of government demands.
Acknowledge reality. Without American money that has bought ARVs for us for years and saved our lives, Malawi’s population would have halved by now.
Ask yourselves. Which NGO would be operating today if there were no foreign funding? Which Church building or Mosque in urban centres would be built without foreign money? In government or outside it, we live on aid, consume aid, dress aid, and, we cannot wean ourselves from aid so abruptly and emotionally without hurting the poorest of the poor.
So, let’s humbly ignore Rev. Nyondo’s emotive utterances and reason with publicist Msonda to tone down his murderous language. Resistance to new cultural discourse is not unexpected, but extremism is symptomatic of intolerance.