Malawi: Churches promote anti-LGBTQ+ hate and misinformation


Thousands marched against homosexuality and same-sex marriage in Malawi on Thursday (Photo: Malawi News Agency / Facebook)

Church groups in Malawi have held national marches to protest against same-sex marriage and the decriminalisation of homosexuality, spreading fear and and dangerous lies about the LGBTQ+ community.

On Thursday, demonstrations were held in various locations, including Blantyre, Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Zomba cities, and the Mangochi District. These marches were organised by the Evangelical Association of Malawi and the Malawi Council of Churches, with support from the Muslim Association of Malawi and the Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi.

In Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial hub, Catholic Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa led the protest, while around 5,000 people marched in Lilongwe, led by the city’s Archbishop, Desmond Tambala. Some MPs and the Minister of Information, Moses Kunkuyu, also joined the demonstrators to show their support.

Church leaders propagated the false narrative that homosexuality is un-African and even promoted the bizarre conspiracy theory that foreign entities pay people to become homosexual. Some also warned that the acceptance of homosexuality would lead to the extinction of the human race.

During the protests, a petition was handed to government officials urging them to “protect” family, marriage, and traditional values. The petition claimed that “Homosexuality goes against everything that we believe as a people” and called on the Executive branch of the Government not to yield to pressure from “other circles”.

“We are aware that the majority of the activists pushing the same-sex agenda in this country mostly do it for money and not necessarily based on convictions,” claimed the petition.

Eric Sambisa, Executive Director of Nyasa Rainbow Alliance (NRA), told VOA that it was unfortunate that religious groups were behind the marches.

“The church is a powerful organisation in society,” he said. “And seeing the church being in the forefront to demonstrate can actually fuel violence against an already disadvantaged community. So, it’s sad that this is happening like this.”

The NRA is currently involved in a high-profile case concerning Jana Gonani, a transgender woman sentenced to eight years in prison under laws criminalising same-sex relationships.

Under the Malawi Penal Code, homosexuality is outlawed, carrying penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

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