President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi has pardoned two gay men, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, a decision announced as the President jointly addressed a press conference with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in Lilongwe, Malawi. This means Tiwonge and Steven have been saved from 14 years of imprisonment with hard labour, which, instead, has been served for only 14 days.
We all know the pardon was not just a mere change of heart. Britain put some burning charcoal under the feet of the President, to pressurize him. So did America and many other countries. There are few leaders with the spine of Robert Mugabe, that we must know, so our President relented. This was in spite of the fact that the law against gays was enacted by the British themselves in 1946, during the time they ruled our country as colonialists.
When the President supported the conviction, party fanatics praised the wisdom of the President in not bowing to international pressure. They hailed him as a wise leader who was determined to uphold the sovereignty of our nation.
Now, as it turns out, the President has caved in to pressure. He has changed his mind.
And so have his supporters. It turns out the President is a wise, listening leader, they say. Whatever decision he makes is good for Malawi.
It baffles me that we have in Malawi today some pathetic individuals who have surrendered their capability of thought, blinded, as it were, by loyalty to the President. They are incapable of having their own opinion. If the President were to order that primary school children should be going to class at night instead of during day time, the fanatics would say he is right. If, instead, he were to change his mind and order that the pupils should be going to school during day time, these brainless idiots would still say the President is right.
Nkhani yavuta pa Malawi is seeking favours from the President. Some people are so afraid of pointing out any wrong decisions made by the President lest that prevent them from eating the crumbs falling from the high table as the President eats that national cake he is fond of referring to.
As to my views about gays, well, I am a liberal. If given the chance to lead the nation, I would follow the example of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela to have the law repealed and let gays and lesbians be free to do as they like. But until the current law is repealed, since Malawi respects the rule of law, let the law take its course on offenders. Any efforts to have this law repealed are welcome and I support them. I support the repealing of any repressive laws that are still present in our penal code.
One lesson from the gay debacle: a poor nation cannot claim sovereignty. Our independence is an illusion. In America, they have just convicted a polygamist, whose five wives cried in court in support of their husband. No single person has raised a finger against America. Nobody, including polygamist Jacob Zuma, has spoken in defence of the American convict. Why? This is because America is truly independent, rich and powerful. As for us, well, that would have been declared an abuse of human rights, first and foremost by America and Britain. Isn’t it a monumental shame and a colossal disgrace?