Malawi | News

Pardoned Malawi Couple Appear in Public, Praise President


Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga appeared at a press conference in the city of Lilongwe on Wednesday, their first public appearance since UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's meeting with Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika, which led to their pardon.

AFP reports:

"A Malawian gay couple who received a presidential pardon on a 14-year sentence for sodomy on Thursday called President Bingu wa Mutharika a 'caring father' and a 'tolerant president.' 'The president has demonstrated that he is a caring father, a considerate and tolerant president. We wish him good health in his everyday endeavours as he continues leading the country to respecting human rights and to economic prosperity,' the couple said in a statement. Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, and Steven Monjeza, 26, gave a brief news conference in the administrative capital Lilongwe late Wednesday, their first public appearance together since Saturday's pardon from the sentence of 14 years' hard labour imposed after they held a symbolic wedding."


"The couple asked the media and the general public to respect their privacy. 'So much has been said and written about us, both positive and negative. We think this is the time for us to be given an opportunity to enjoy our freedom,' they said. They called their ordeal 'the most stressful period in our lives.' Chimbalanga told AFP in a phone interview that he was in Lilongwe to 'have a breather', while his partner had returned to his village."

Mutharika told the public that his decision was final and not to be discussed: "The story ends there. I don't want to hear anyone commenting on them. Nobody is authorised to comment on the gays. You will spoil things."

Watch a TV interview with the couple (it needs translation, but it offers a look at the couple, post-prison), AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Do any Towleroaders speak Chichewa? That was a pretty lengthy interview and I'm curious what they said. Though a TV interview would only be seen by the elite few who have a TV, someone needs to start getting the word out that the 19th century British colonists were wrong in the ideas they forced upon Malawians about homosexuality.

    Posted by: GregV | Jun 3, 2010 10:06:44 AM

  2. Actually TVs are becoming widespread even in remote villages around the world. Granted, they're often shared by the entire village, but they're still fairly common.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 3, 2010 2:48:19 PM

  3. sorry. it has been a while since i spoke chichewa, but:
    he first asks him if he is happy, to which he responds yes, very happy. and then they talk about EDZi (AIDS) in Malawi and the fact that many men and women have it, especially the men.
    the other guy comes in and says that they prayed a lot. the interviewer asks who they prayed to-and he answers to their family and other people to help them.
    the guy then says that he has been with a woman-(in fact i think he was married, but it is hard to hear him). the interviewer asks about being with a woman than a man. the guy says that many people would answer differently about men and women. then he says that the woman has forgiven him for being with a man.
    then the interviewer asks about creating a family with a woman vs. with a man. but im not sure what he said. they then discuss culture of malawi and i think that they guy says things need to change today.
    the interviewer asks the other guy if he has ever been with a woman, and he responds he has only been with men. and states that he was born that way. i think the interviewer comments that he can't have a baby cause he is a man, to which he agrees.
    that's about all i got. sorry.

    Posted by: patrick | Jun 3, 2010 3:41:47 PM

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