Africa: Unite against gangsters

So President Bingu Wa Mutharika has pardoned the two gay men in Malawi who were sentenced to 14 years for going public with their homosexual affair. We saw the presidential pardon coming. The pressure brought to bear on the hapless Malawian President was too much for even a seasoned leader like him. It has not escaped us that he is also the current chairman of the African Union. The pressure came both overtly and covertly. It is common knowledge that there was a lot of lobbying, nay, threats, behind the scenes to have Mutharika use his executive powers to set aside the court decision to send these transgressors away for 14 years. Never mind the fact that the majority of the Malawians were happy with the sentence. They say money talks, don’t they? And it did talk in Malawi at the weekend with the release of the gay pair. At least President wa Mutharika did not hide the reason why he gave in to the unbearable pressure. “I am looking at our donors now … what they will say about the pardon,” is how wa Mutharika explained himself out of this embarrassing situation. In Africa it’s called the politics of the stomach. President Mutharika had two choices. He had either to give in to pressure because donors would withhold aid or have aid to Malawi cut off. He settled for the former. Press reports would have us believe that it was United Nations Secretary – General Ban Ki-Moon who successfully negotiated the homosexuals’ presidential pardon. But we know better. Who does not know that the UN does not have money of its own. It relies for its very existence from members’ contributions. And everyone knows who really are the UN’s major sponsors and therefore directs its policies. Ban might have earned the worldwide headlines as the man who negotiated the release of the gays but the real architects are out there but very anonymous. Poor Ban was just a front. For all we know, he privately might have endorsed the court decision to send the two gay men to jail. Why do we have outsiders telling Malawians that their law is archaic when it is the Malawians themselves who enacted it? If Malawians choose to live in the 1800s as someone put, let them. It’s their choice. Why should outsiders tell them how to live their lives. Unfortunately this is what happens when you depend on others. This is the tragedy of Africa. All these years after independence, the continent still relies heavily on foreign aid which invariably comes with, not strings, but in most cases now, ropes attached. And to think the Malawian incident only happened a few days after Africa celebrated 47 years since the birth of the Organisation of African Unity (now African Union), whose main thrust is to reduce or eliminate dependence on the West. It is a pity that countries and leaders who refuse to dance to the tune of the West are vilified and ostracised. Zimbabwe is still paying the price for standing up to the West by embarking on a land reform programme in 2000. The question, is having achieved this ‘small victory’ in Malawi, how far are these gay gangsters, under the guise of human rights activists, prepared to push their luck? We hear they are already campaigning to have the law banning gay relationships in Malawi scrapped. Ask President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala. The gangsters are already at it trying to have Uganda amend or scarp its laws on homosexual relationships. In Zimbabwe, having realised that in President Mugabe and his government, they had zero chances of effecting any changes on the laws against homosexuality, the gangsters, using their financial muscle, went for the church. The result. The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is now split in the middle fundamentally because of the issue of gays. Africa can do more to reduce its dependence on the West by speaking with one voice. Unfortunately this is not happening on the continent at the moment because we still have leaders who bark with the dogs today and howl with the wolves tomorrow.

June 2010
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