Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga
Malawi’s Minister of Gender and Children, Patricia Kaliati, has warned that Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza could be re-arrested if they do not “change their behaviour”.
The two gay men were grudgingly pardoned by the country’s president and released following intervention by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
“It doesn’t mean that now they are free people they can keep doing whatever you keep doing,” Kaliati told the BBC.
She also insisted that the government would not decriminalise homosexuality, despite calls for it to do so by the United Nations and other governments and human rights bodies.
“We have our own rules and laws which we are following, and our own constitution. Our constitution is not the same as your constitution,” Kaliati said.
A judge found Monjeza guilty of “having carnal knowledge of Tiwonge through the anus, which is against the order of nature” and Chimbalanga guilty of “permitting buggery”. On May 20 they were sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labour.
According to reports, the men have gone to ground since being released. It is believed that the couple is fearful of being attacked.
“We heard that they were released but we don’t know where they are,” Chimbalanga’s brother-in-law told The AP. “They are neither at their home or their villages. But I know they are keeping a low profile deliberately because of the sensitivity of their case.”