Malawi government has disclosed that it will review the law that criminalizes same sex marriage, amid incessant pressure from the donor community on the Peter Mutharika led administration to do the same.
The development follows pressure from international human rights bodies that condemned Malawi government for arresting a gay pair in the capital Lilongwe.
According to the international human rights bodies, the country breached its international human rights obligations by arresting the gay couple.
Reacting to the pressure from international human rights bodies, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said government will review the penal code’s section.
“We are responding to the international human rights bodies condemning the country that we have breached our obligation on the international level following the arrest of the gay couple, as a country we will review the law but that will be upon consulting Malawians,” said Tembenu.
Tembenu further said that two people arrested for being gay, Cuthbert Kulemela, and Kelvin Gonani, have been set free.
Homosexuality is illegal in most African nations and remains a controversial topic in Malawi’s conservative society.
Section 135 sub section C of Malawi’s penal code states that “any person, who permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years, with or without corporal punishment”.
Recently, United States of America government through its embassy in Lilongwe has ordered Malawi Government to drop charges against the two.
In a statement posted on their official Facebook page, the US ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, says she is deeply concerned with the arrest of teenager and his partner in the capital city.
The embassy says it regards the arrest as unlawful. The couple was arrested in Lilongwe on December 7 and charged with sodomy which is in violation of section 153 of the Penal Code.
The two were also subjected to a medical examination without their consent. However, the American Embassy has strongly reminded the Malawi Government of its commitment to not arrest people who are engaged in consensual same-sex activity.
“I urge the Malawi government to make good on its international human rights obligations, drop the charges, and resolve this unfortunate incident as quickly as possible,” reads part of the statement.