…Officer charged with homosexuality rather than rape
A Malawian male traffic police officer who is accused of raping another man has been granted a K20 thousand bail.
The officer, identified as Richard Mvula, is said to have sexually assaulted the victim on December 16, 2019, at Matete roadblock Nkhatabay. The law-enforcer was reportedly on duty when he committed the crime.
According to a report by the Malawi News Agency (MANA), Mvula was arrested the same day. He appeared before the Nkhatabay First Magistrate Court last week where he was charged with unnatural offence contrary to Section 153 of the Penal Code.
The officer denies the charge.
First Grade Magistrate, Robert Makayika, granted court bail to Mvula and ordered him to pay K20, 000 bail bond. Makayika also ordered the accused to be reporting to the nearest police station once a week.
Meanwhile, a University of Malawi lecturer on Diversity, Pearson Nkhoma, has called for the amendment of the penal code to recognize that men can also be raped by other men.
Nkhoma argues that prosecuting such offences in the same manner as homosexuality where two consenting adults have sex undermines the gravity nature of rape where a victim is another man.
“Rape and homosexuality are not and should never be comparable within the law. Rape is an appalling act of evil. It scars the victim. Yet, this charge makes rape and homosexuality comparable while ignoring the horrific nature of rape on the victim,” Nkhoma told our reporter.
He noted that the current provisions were founded on archaic understanding that men cannot be raped albeit setting maximum sentence to 14 years.
Nkhoma is of the view that separating rape by men of other men from homosexuality would encourage other male victims of sexual abuse to report crimes more.
“The police officer might be homosexual but his alleged act is awful and non-consensual. This makes the act rape and if our laws do not recognise this, then our laws must be amended,” said Nkhoma while recalling another case where under-aged boys in Ndirande were being raped by an alleged pedophile and serial rapist of boys who was legally charged of sodomy.
He said Section 153 assumes sex “against the order of nature” is consensual and permitted by another man but overlooks the fact that such sex can be non-consensual as defined under Section 132 which Nkhoma argues “ignores the possibility of men being raped by other men” as is allegedly the case with Mvula’s offence.