Anti-LGBTQI+ protests held across Malawi
Malawi struggles to end attacks on persons with Albinism.
On 30th November 2022, Tadala Chirwa was reportedly sleeping in the same bed with her grandmother when an unidentified man broke into their house, stabbed the child in the neck, chopped off her arm, and fled. This attack took place in Mawawa village, near the town of Kasungu, in central Malawi. According to the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi, in June 2023 unidentified people tampered with a grave in Blantyre in southern Malawi, exhumed a body and removed its arms and legs. The tampering of graves is the seventh incident in 2023. Since 2014, more than 170 albinos have been killed or attacked because of false beliefs that concoctions mixed with their body parts bring luck and wealth, according to official data. These attacks involve the killing of individuals with albinism and the gruesome removal of their limbs and follow a disturbing pattern that has persisted over time.
#Times360News #Protests #Lilongwe— Times 360 Malawi (@Times360Malawi) July 13, 2023
The marchers against same sex marriage, led by religious leaders, have delivered their petition through Mulanje West legislator Yusuf Nthenda at Parliament Building in Lilongwe.
Videos by Mathews Kasanda pic.twitter.com/HFSv3K85Tg
Religious protests held against same-sex marriage
In mid-July 2023, religious leaders in Malawi organised street protests against same-sex marriage as Dutch citizen Jan Willem Akstar and transgender Malawian Jana Gonani challenged the country's anti-homosexuality laws in the Constitutional Court. The pair is seeking to have bans on same-sex marriage and gay sex overturned, arguing they violate the right to privacy and dignity, among others. In Lilongwe, at least 5000 demonstrates gathered in the streets, appealing to the country’s president Chakwera not to bow to pressure to legalise same sex relations.
Protests were also simultaneously organized in other towns. In Blantyre, hundreds of protesters gathered and presented a petition to the office of the district commissioner, appealing to lawmakers not to pass any laws legalizing same sex relations.
Eric Sambisa, the executive director of Nyasa Rainbow Coalition, which advocates for LGBTQ rights in Malawi, has gone into hiding due to death threats received after his office was burned down in Blantyre.
On 7th September 2023, Malawi police fired teargas while a group of people pelted stones at protesters who were marching in Lilongwe on their way to State House to deliver a petition to President Lazarus Chakwera demanding he resign. The demonstration was led by activist Bon Kalindo, who was arrested on 30th August 2023 after attempting to hold a similar protest. A court however allowed the protest to go ahead and the protesters were told to deliver their petition 100 meters from State House.
In an interview with Nation Online, Bon Kalindo said “It is really sad that police had to take sides with this group who waited for protesters at Lilongwe Bridge and hurt innocent people who were simply exercising their right to demonstrate.”
On 15th September 2023, Bon Kalindo was arrested again for failing to comply with his bail conditions, which included reporting to the National Police Headquarters regularly. He was eventually released on 18th September 2023 by the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court.
Malawian activist Bon Kalindo faced multiple arrests and legal actions in 2021 and 2023 due to his involvement in anti-government protests and demonstrations demanding President Lazarus Chakwera's resignation. He was initially arrested in December 2021 for his remarks during protests.
Journalist assaulted while covering fight by representatives of ruling parties
On 17th May 2023, political activists attacked Mzindiko, a photographer with the privately owned Times Group newspaper, while he covered a fight between supporters of the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and its allied United Transformation Movement (UTM) in the city of Blantyre. About 15 people in MCP party regalia approached Mzindiko after he filmed a fistfight between MCP and UTM supporters and demanded he delete his photos and video. When the journalist refused, they slapped him, grabbed his crotch, stole his camera’s lens and deleted footage from his laptop and camera memory card. The MCP and Information Minister Moses Kumkuyu each issued apologies over the incident.
Reporter manhandled during demonstration
On 15th September 2023, a group of Mzuzu University Students manhandled reporter Jonathan Pansunwi from National Publications Limited while covering their demonstration against a fees hike. They took his phone and deleted all the pictures. Misa Malawi strongly condemned the act and called for everyone, including demonstrators, to always respect and uphold Constitutionally guaranteed press freedom.