By Our Reporter
High Court judges sitting as a Constitutional Court has concluded hearing of an application to declare the country’s homosexuality laws unconstitutional and has since adjourned the case to August 23 and 29 this year.
This is a highly controversial case that has left religious leaders in the streets protesting any attempts to legalize same sex marriages in the country; describing such as evil.
Lead judge in the case, Joseph Chigona says when the case resumes on August 28, they shall hear oral submissions from both parties. He wants the written submissions filed with the court by August 4.
Besides Chigona, Vikochi Chima and Chimbizyani Kacheche are the other judges on the panel.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda re-examined state witneses, Samson Chisanga, a lawyer and state prosecutor at State Advocate Chambers in Blantyre.
Chisanga was also cross-examined by lawyer for the second applicant, Jana Gonani, a transgender in a highly emotive court session.
First applicant, Jan Willem Akstar, a Dutch national; and Gonani, transgender, moved the Constitutional Court; arguing the country’s homosexuality laws violate their right to privacy and dignity among others.
Currently, Sections 153 and 156 of the Penal Code outlaw these acts. Once convicted, the offense attracts a maximum sentence of up to 14 years in jail.
But a victory in their application, will effectively legalise same sex marriages and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and intersex (LGBTQI) activities in the country.
.Faith groups are still demonstrating appealing to President Lazarus Chakwera not to succumb to any pressure from the international community in a desperate bid for financial support.
They further propose holding of a national referendum for citizens to share their views in a country widely regarded as God fearing.
In 2010, Malawi’s former president, late Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned a gay couple from a 14-year prison term after a meeting with the then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who urged the country to amend “outdated” laws on homosexuality.