Malawian government in knots over sodomy

First President Joyce Banda wanted to repeal Malawi’s sodomy law, which was used to imprison a couple that held a public engagement ceremony in 2009.

Then she backtracked in the face of difficult elections, saying “Malawians are not ready to deal with that right now.”

Last week, Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara reversed Banda’s reversal at a forum organized by the Center for Development of People and the Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, reportedly saying, “There is a moratorium on such laws, meaning that police will not arrest or prosecute anyone based on these laws. These laws will not be enforced until the time Parliament makes a decision.”

This was confirmed to me by the Center for Development of People’s Gift Trapence, who sent me an email saying, “He just said that President wants more debate on it and that no gay person will be arrested.”

But now Kasmabara has reversed his reversal of President Banda’s reversal, declaring Wednesday, “There was no such announcement, and there was no discussion about same-sex marriages.”

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