A Malawian minister has expelled a ‘suspected’ lesbian from her constituency in order to ‘protect’ young girls in the area.

Patricia Kaliati, MP for the district of Mulanje and Minister of Women and Child Development, is reported to have ordered Nellie Somanje to leave the town of Mkando claiming that she fears that the woman will “corrupt [the] morals of my young constituents”.

Kaliati said in an interview with PANA that “…Somanje is persona non grata here. She must leave the area in order to protect vulnerable girls here.”

Somanje, a 42 year old businesswoman, was recently acquitted of charges of gross indecency after two girls in her employ accused her of sexual abuse.

Kaliati, however, dismissed the court’s ruling. “What the Mulanje Magistrates’ Court did is legally wrong. When we have a court, we expect it to protect the rights of the vulnerable,” she said.

Somanje is believed to have relocated to her birth district of Mangochi.

Homosexuality in Malwai has been in the headlines of late following the ongoing trial of two men who were arrested late last year for getting engaged to be married in a symbolic public ceremony. Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza have been charged with ‘unnatural practices between males and gross public indecency’ and face 14 years in prison if found guilty.

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