Pastors who obtained an injunction against suspension of homosexuality laws in the country have called for the immediate arrest of thousands of gays and lesbians reportedly living in Mzuzu City.
Young Pastors Coalition of Malawi has urged the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to round up the sexual minority in reaction to a study by Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and John Hopkins University which indicates there are almost 4 000 homosexuals in the city.
In an interview at the weekend, the Reverend Patrick Banda, who chairs the coalition, said they were dismayed that the Executive arm of government was not paying attention to the stay order granted by High Court judge Dingiswayo Madise which lifted the moratorium announced by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu.
The injunction effectively compels the police to continue arresting homosexuals in the country.
“We are strongly advised that the conduct of the Executive—maintaining the moratorium by not investigating, arresting and prosecuting homosexuals, including those for which we commenced judicial review proceedings—amounts to contempt of court,” reads a statement co-signed by Banda, Pastor Tusalifye Mbewe and Evangelist Joseph Chavula.
The pastors have put the criminal law system on trial following the unconditional release of Lilongwe-based suspected gays—Cuthbert Kulemera and Kelvin Gonani—who walked free amid donor pressure in January this year.
The pastors warn that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Police Inspector General Lexten Kachama risk being jailed for contempt of court if they fail to take action on the Lilongwe pair and Mzuzu’s 4 000.
They also want the law enforcers to investigate Cedep and Johns Hopkins for aiding the commission of homosexual offences.
“What this revelation means is that the organisation who conducted the survey have details of the suspected homosexuals which the police can rely upon to effect arrests of those suspected criminals,” it reads, apparently referring to findings of a study undertaken by the two institutions which established there are 4 000 homosexuals in Mzuzu.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale has moved to challenge the injunction, arguing the applicants have no sufficient interest in the matter.
Meanwhile, Cedep has joined the case as “friends of the court” ahead of inter partes hearing slated for April 4 at the High Court in Mzuzu.
Cedep executive director Gift Trapence told The Nation that the figures confirm the existence of homosexuals in the country, asking Malawians to end stigma and start incorporating the sexual minority in their programmes as the country grapples with HIV and Aids. n