Article By: Lloyd M’bwana
Some of the country’s civil society organizations have joined the two human rights watchdogs, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Peoples Development (CEDEP) on the court case against Peoples Party (PP) Spokesperson, Ken Msonda’s hate speech he made on gays that their acts were worse than dogs who deserved death.
The civil society organizations including Youth and Children Rights Shield (YOCRIS), Forum for National Development (FND), and Counseling for the Adolescent Youth Organization (CAYO) have expressed interest joining CHRR and CEDEP in a bid to promote rights of all people including those of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT).
In a press statement released on Wednesday, January 20 which is available to The Maravi Post and co-signed by Bright Kampaundi, Fryson Chodzi and Michael Kalima, the Executive Director, National Coordinator and Programme Manager for YOCRIS, FND and CAYO respectively, the three organizations have described Msonda outburst on LGBT as in mature which is a recipe for propagating mob justice instead of allowing the country’s laws to work on it.
“We have taken notice and interest in the case of hate speech which Mr. Kenneth Msonda faces. To this effect, as organizations that promotes rights of all people, we will be joining Centre for Peoples Development (CEDEP) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) as friends of the Courts.
“It is shocking to note the level of hate that Mr. Kenneth Msonda propagated against people of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT).The hate speech which calls for killing of LGBT people cannot be condoned in a democratic Malawi. We believe that Mr. Msonda has every right to express his arguments against LGBT issues but calling for death of the same people is criminal. He has demonstrated being no worse than a person who propagates mob justice instead of letting the law takes its course.
“The hate speech being propagated has dire consequences if some overzealous people were to follow through what he was propagating. Mr. Msonda is a public figure and as such cannot be propagating hate speech which can lead to death of fellow human beings and against the constitution of the republic”, reads the statement in part.
The trio further observed that history has it that in 1994 similar such hate speech in Rwanda fueled the genocide which led to loss of life and Mr. Msonda, no matter his convictions, has no right both enshrined from the constitution or from above to call for death of another person due to differences in beliefs or orientation.
The statement added that Chapter IV of the Constitution of Malawi protects human rights and paramount is right to all life of all people of Malawi, therefore Mr. Msonda could not demand death of certain Malawians just because they are LGBT people saying the constitution prohibits discrimination of any person on whatever basis.
“While we believe that people must enjoy their freedom of expression and opinion and that there might be a continued debate about homosexuality issues in Malawi, we condemn in its totality the utterance from any members of citizens that are promoting violence against any member of the society on the basis of sexual orientation and calling for killing of homosexual is criminal in nature because it is against the constitution which provide for protection for human life.
“Furthermore, we condemn the increasingly homophobic statements that notable citizens are uttering including some selected members of parliament more particular when are being published by some quarters of our citizenry in both the mainstream and social media. It is unacceptable seeing some opinion leaders take the lead in inciting actual violence against the very citizens they represent in law making house”, reads the statement.
The trio expressed however took a swipe at some religious bodies and individuals who continue to incite violence against Gays and the members of the LGBT community at large saying it was disheartening learning that religious leaders who are men and women of God whom everyone looks up to have become a source of hatred, castigation and inciting violence.
“Religious leaders should be in the forefront preaching about unconditional love which is the spirit behind human rights. We expect religious to be in the forefront condemning any kind of hate speeches against fellow human beings. It was our expectation that religious leaders should condemn anyone proposing a crime against humanity, as it is unbiblical, unreligious and criminal behavior.
“There is no religion which calls for people to kill each other, preach hate speech, castigate, and alienate any kind of persons even the worst thought of sinners. We implore all human rights watch dogs to guard against any hate speech that might be targeted at any group of people let alone the LGBTI community because this is unconstitutional and it’s criminal”, appeal YOCRIS, FND and CAYO.