If homosexuals in Malawi had hopes in People’s Party (PP), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) running mates, they can as well forget.
At the first-ever presidential running mates political debate on Saturday, all the four PP’s Sosten Gwengwe , DPP’s Saulosi Chilima, MCP’s Richard Msowoya and UDF’s Godfrey Chapola failed to convincingly state the best way forward on the controversial matter.
In fact, executive director for the Centre for Development of People (Cedep) Gift Trapence, a minority rights activist, said the four missed an opportunity “to make sense”.
“That was a grand chance for the four to show that they are ready to respect people’s rights without segregating,” said Trapence.
First to tackle the matter was Chapola who said: “Because this is a democracy, the party will put it to a vote for the majority to decide.
“We believe that power is derived from the people, we, therefore, should follow what people will decide,” he said.
Chilima started with a rather hopeful preamble, but turned out to be of the opinion similar to Chapola.
“Whether law or not, whether we like it or not the fact is that these people exist in our country. But we will put it to a referendum for people to decide,” said Chilima.
Gwengwe went straight on affirming government’s long-held stance of “we will do what people of Malawi want done because they know what’s best for them.”
Msowoya also maintained that the status quo currently is what is defined by the law; thus outlawing homosexuality.
He could not clearly pin his or his party’s opinion on the matter if elected into office come May 20 Tripartite Elections.
Malawi is currently battling with Western donors, most of whom want statues that outlaw homosexuality to be repealed, as pre-conditionality to their releasing aid.
The debate organised by the Namisa number one radio, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), tackled a wide range of issues, including drug shortage, irrigation agriculture, corruption and civil service management.
ZBS managing director Gospel Kazako said the debate was to interview the “four job seekers” to ascertain their responsiveness to people’s aspirations.