Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika
Malawi’s government is said to be targeting LGBT activists who it claims are behind the country recently losing foreign aid.
Local media reported that Malawi’s Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Dr. George Chaponda, blamed the loss or suspension of funding on the heads of two LGBT groups: Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson Undule Mwakasungula and executive director of Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) Gift Trapence.
“The country is suffering because of the conduct of some leaders of the civil society. Those people are not patriotic. Some donors have withdrawn their aid and everybody is suffering. More than half of salaries for Ministry of Health come from the donors,” said Chaponda at press conference.
The government also released documents showing that the two organisation had requested US$700 000 from Norwegian and Dutch funders to run LGBT equality and HIV awareness projects in the country.
It said that this was proof that the NGOs are being used by external forces to destabilise the government.
“These are the people who are being used as agents from the government’s enemies,” said Chaponda.
Earlier this month, the US – through The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – reinstated $350 million in aid that was suspended after Malawi implemented a new law in February that criminalised lesbianism. Same-sex male sexual interaction was already illegal in Malawi.
The MCC has warned that it will again suspend or even terminate its aid if LGBT people are prosecuted under these laws.
In May last year, President Mutharika pardoned two men, who were jailed under the country’s anti-gay laws, following international outrage and personal intervention by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.