When resources are so mean at home, family guardians gather the efforts to find means to bring things work for the betterment of their subjects at home, so that they may not suffer, die of hunger or get stressed.
You may utilize all the rightful means to get resources like money at your backyard, but the wheel of life may change to hard lack. You finally conclude that all the rightful means are subject to failure and you resort to go for other means, whether lawful or not provided you get what you want.
This is a case with Malawi. The country is swimming in the financial constraints due to among other things withdraw of aid by Britain and other donors.
Malawi despite celebrating fifty years of Independence, it heavily depends on donor aid of about 40% of its total financial budget. The withdraw of the aid is among other things, due to the cash gate scandal where billions of money were stolen from Capital Hill from 2012 to 2013 during Joyce Banda’s rule and between 2005 and 2012 during late Bingu wa Mutharika era.
Malawi is yet to make strides in improving it’s financial prudent, including bringing all the culprits before the law a condition bulldozed by donors for their aid to be resumed.
While the incumbent administration has made some positive efforts to arrest those involved in the theft of government resources, resumption of aid remains cloudy. The slow the efforts to arrest the culprits of the cash gate scandal, the far the distance to reach donor’s satisfaction.
Left stranded, the government of Malawi has been trying to find other means to get funds including the introduction of Zero Aid Budget. It hiked passport and driving license fees in a bid to increase collections. Unfortunately, this seems not enough at all. As other quarters have commented, Malawi is not yet ready to stand on its own.
Today, desperate for aid support, Malawi has finally forgotten that it is a God fearing nation and has decided to embrace homosexuals as one way of bringing aid.
On February 26, The Nation newspaper reported that “the government has asked for $388 888 (MK180 million from global fund for TB, Malaria, and HIV/Aids to support activities such as testing, counselling, and treatment, condoms and prevention of risky behaviour programs for the 38 734-strong Malawian homosexual population”.
The new National Strategic Plan for HIV/Aids and TB response (2015-2020), according to the paper, has recognised Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) as a key population in HIV epidemics based on the increased risk of HIV transmission from unprotected anal intercourse.
Concept notes by Country Coordinating Mechanisms on HIV and TB program said MSM make up 1.84 percent of the male population in Malawi.
“A seven-site MSM HIV prevalence, socio-behavioural and population size estimation study released at the end of 2014 estimates MSM make up about 1.84 percent of the overall male population aged 20 to 39 years in Malawi or about 38 734 individuals,” reads part of the proposal submitted to The Global Fund by the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) which was set up to replace the National AIDS Commission following massive abuse of funds at the Commission.
The move is likely to bring mixed reactions especially from religious bodies which, for all along, have been fighting against legalisation and recognition of gays in the country saying Malawi is a God fearing nation.
Last year, Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) received a condemnation from both local and international gay rights activists after it suggested the need to revise the penalty of those found guilty of homosexuality to be condemned to death.
MAM Secretary General Dr Salmin Omar Idrussi told Malawi Muslims Official Website in an interview that ‘‘though Malawi is regarded as a secular state but the country is blessed with God fearing citizens who can’t afford to deviate from God’s commandments for the sake of pleasing others who practice the act.
Homosexuality in Malawi is punishable by a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment, according to the Penal Code whose offeses include “unnatural acts” and “buggery”.
In 2010, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, the country’s first openly-gay couple were sentenced to the maximum sentence of 14 years. However, they were pardoned following massive donor pressure.
Since then, some Civil Society Organisations (CSO) were pushing for the country to abolish the statute that penalise the act.
Nonetheless, it seems now President Mutharika’s regime may get a sigh of relief as it is likely the proposal will be approved amid the international community’s advocacy on minority rights.