Bingu's party resorts to homophobia and hypocrisy

Malawi's former ruling party - the ironically-named Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) - has a lot to answer for. It should be cravenly apologising for the mess it made of Malawi and working to come up with some decent policies for the elections ahead (or disbanding in shame). Instead, it is trying to drum up support by beating the old drum of homosexuality - hoping that this divisive issue will make Malawians forget the party's past abuses.

Richard Lee's picture

Author

Strategic communications for WWF

July 31st, 2012

Malawi's former ruling party - the ironically-named Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) - has a lot to answer for. It should be cravenly apologising for the mess it made of Malawi and working to come up with some decent policies for the elections ahead (or disbanding in shame). Instead, it is trying to drum up support by beating the old drum of homosexuality - hoping that this divisive issue will make Malawians forget the party's past abuses.

Its most recent statement makes this strategy perfectly clear with the ludicrous and shameful headline - 'Has Malawi become a gay,same sex and lesbian nation?'

But once you get past the blatant homophobia, the utter lack of understanding about the importance of working with most-at-risk groups in the fight against AIDS and the sheer stupidity (what does 'Has Malawi become a same sex nation mean'?), you realise that the DPP has taken hypocrisy to an entirely new level - by demanding national consultations on the issue.

How could the DPP - with a straight face - say "Let the people’s voice be heard on this matter. Chiefs should be heard, religious leaders should be heard, academics should be heard, civil societies should add their voice, and ultimately, the voices of the voiceless and ordinary Malawians should also be heard."

Remember that this is the DPP that was in power when civil society activists were publicly threatened, intimidated and firebombed; when academics were interrograted by the Chief of Police and Chancellor College was closed for months over academic freedom; when media houses could be closed down for reporting the wrong things; when ordinary Malawians were prevented from exercising their right to vote in local elections and were shot dead in the streets when marching in defence of democracy; and when calls for consultation were dissmissed out-of-hand.

How dare the DPP think it has the right to lecture anyone on free expression or consultation?

 

Contacts

  • 1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
  • T. +27 (0)11 587 5000
  • F. +27 (0)11 587 5099