Pastor Steven Anderson
Malawi has become the third country to reject attempts by American kill-the-gays pastor Steven Anderson to set up his church in the region.
According to local media reports, government spokesperson Malison Ndau confirmed that Anderson is not welcome in Malawi because of his “hate preaching”. He explained that, “he would not be received well here.”
In another interview, Ndau said: “Thinking of coming to set up a church here with such ideologies cannot be allowed. If he is coming to push for his ideologies then we are not going to allow that. The ideologies are against human rights, which the Government of Malawi respects.”
A week ago, we reported that a Facebook page, titled Faithful Word Baptist Church Malawi, had been set up after Anderson and his followers were banned by South Africa and then deported from Botswana.
It’s believed that American church missionary Garrett Kirchway is leading the initiative in Malawi.
Solum Ntogolo, Programmes Officer at the Center for the Development of People (CEDEP) in Malawi, welcomed the government’s stance towards Anderson.
“Anderson is trying to entice people to incite violence and incite homophobia in the church. We don’t want people to come here to preach that,” he told Mambaonline.
Somewhat hypocritically, the Malawian government has refused to take action against homophobic politician Ken Msonda, spokesperson for the former ruling People’s Party, who has similar views to those of the American evangelist.
In January, Msonda wrote on Facebook that arresting gays and lesbians would not work and that “the best way to deal with the problem is to KILL them!”
He was charged with inciting others to break the law but the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the case with no explanation; a move slammed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Anderson’s Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church is listed as a hate group in the US. He has preached that killing gay people would free the world from the AIDS epidemic and praised the Orlando massacre as “good news” because “there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world”.
The status of LGBTI people in Malawi is unclear. In December last year, Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu announced a moratorium on the arrest of Malawians for having gay sex, which carries a penalty of 14 years in prison.
In February, however, a group called the Young Pastors Coalition of Malawi took the matter to the High Court in Mzuzu, which ruled that the government could not suspend laws and that only Parliament may do so; leaving the community in limbo.