Churches fear‘Sodom’ for Malawi

Churches fear‘Sodom’ for Malawi

Churches under Evangelical Association of Malawi yesterday told the High Court of Malawi sitting as a Constitutional Court in Blantyre that legalising same-sex unions would open a floodgate of strange demands of sexual nature.

Private practice lawyer Bright Theu, representing the Evangelical Association, told a three-judge-panel that if the court would agree with the two claimants and declare as unconstitutional some sections in the Penal Code that criminalise homosexuality, it would create room where more demands such as wanting to sleep with dead bodies.

Theu, in his oral submission, said people may also want legalization of bestiality, pedophilia where men sleep with children and masochism and sadomachism, where one develops a tendency to derive sexual gratification from one’s own pain or humiliation.

“To lay the point vivid, even if out of pretences claimants do not expressly claim the right for themselves or others to be let alone to practise bestiality, pedophilia…incest…and kindred sexual depravities and indecencies, these would logically follow as guaranteed under the broadly misbegotten conception of liberty advanced by the claimants,” he argued.

Theu, as a friend of the court, told the court Malawi should not be swayed by moral convictions of other societies, arguing the nation should base its morals on its own conviction.

Lawyers from both sides pose for a photograph in the courtroom after making their submissions

Lawyer Innocentia Ottober, representing the Catholic Church through Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), also as a friend of the court, said the argument by those advocating for legalising same-sex that the State should stay away from what happens in bedrooms of two consenting adults of same-sex should not stand because it is tantamount to telling the State to look the other way on incest, rape and drug dealings as long as such criminal activities are happening in private.

She argued the claimants, Jan Willem Akstar from The Netherlands and Jana Gonani from Mangochi, told the court they were not gays. He said their case should be dismissed with costs.

Frank Mbeta, representing Muslim Association of Malawi (Mam), said the court could not be asked to create a right that is not in the Constitution, adding Akstar was disqualified to pursue the case and lacked sufficient interest as he told the court he is not gay.

He, too, asked the court to condemn the two in costs.

But lawyer representing Akstar, Fostino Maere, urged the court not to condemn his client in cost, arguing it is a case that attracted the attention of many, including the Church who joined on their own volition.

He pleaded that everyone should bear their own costs.

Chairperson of the three-member bench, Justice Joseph Chigona, adjourned the case after they finished hearing the submissions and announced judgement would be made on a day to be communicated.

Chigona assured his team, justices Vikochi Chima and Chimbizgani Kacheche, would do their best to deliver the judgement as soon as possible.

As it stands, the Penal Code criminalises acts of carnal knowledge against the order of nature and if convicted, one faces a maximum sentence of up to 14 years in jail.

Akstar was answering criminal cases in a magistrate’s court where nine men lodged a complaint that he sexually abused them while Gonani is a convict after he was found guilty of charges bordering on duping and stealing from men when he was posing as a woman and having sex with them.

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