After a wave a furious criticisms, legislator and musician Lucius Banda has defended his anti-gay stance, stating that he is a believer in traditional African values and, therefore, he has a God given right to comment on contemporary issues affecting Malawians.
The Balaka North legislator threw himself at the centre of the gay debacle and fanned the gay debate after he cut short a performance at Zithere Pano in Mangochi on Christmas Eve after noticing two men in the audience cuddling and kissing.
Following his sentiments, self-acclaimed Soldier of the Poor came under fire from human rights activists who accused him of being homophobic.
Leading gay rights NGO Centre for Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence branded the musician’s comments as inciteful.
“Lucius should be reminded that he is a secular musician who goes to beer drinking joints to entertain people. His shows are attended by different groups of people with different backgrounds and you cannot discriminate or insult such people based on whatever grounds,” he wrote in a statement.
But, in a response on Monday, Banda stood his ground, insisting that he has a right to express himself on any matter affecting the citizenry.
“If Mr Trapence has the audacity to call me homophobic, I have the right to retort and call Trapence heterophobic. Let him not fool Malawians that there is global consensus on lesbianism or gayism.
“Even in the United States kumene a madzi tama kuti kuli ufulu, the issue is polarised among the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats have a liberal view whereas republicans hold a traditional view that marriage is between a man and a woman. I am a man who upholds these traditional views and I have no apologies to make,” he charged.
Banda added: “I am a firm believer in natural law. By nature, we know that opposites attract. When they do not, something is intrinsically wrong. Olo nkhuku imadziwa kolowera. As Uhuru Kenyatta said to Obama recently the issue of homosexuality in Africa is a non issue.
“It must not be used to foster a culture or a philosophy on a people. Let change come originally on this issue not through force and imperial means. In this regard, I propose that Malawi as country seriously considers holding a referendum on this matter to put this issue to rest! I rest my case!!”
Lucius’ comments have come barely a week after Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu signed a statement announcing the unconditional release of two men accused of engaging in homosexuality.
The two suspected gays’ freedom came amid pressure from several Western countries—including the United States of America (USA) and Germany—United Nations and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Malawi suspended enforcement of anti-gay laws, among them Sections 137(a), 153, 154 and 156 of the Penal Code pending a High Court review of their constitutionality, but the process is yet to be concluded.
The country is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees the right to privacy and the right to non-discrimination of all people.