Attorney general cross examines first witness in homosexuality case

Attorney general cross examines first witness in homosexuality case

Attorney general Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has cross examined the first witness in a case in which two people want the High court in Blantyre to legalize homosexuality

Chakaka Nyirenda cross examined the South African Medical Doctor Professor Alexandria Muller who was engaged by lawyers of a transgender applicant to conduct a research on minority rights in Malawi

A panel of three Judges, Joseph Chigona, Chimbizgani Kacheche and Vikochi Chima sitting as a constitutional court are hearing the matter.

Religious leaders in the country have been calling on the judiciary and government not to legalize same sex marriages in Malawi

Child Rights organizations had asked the court not to forget that the applicant Akster sodomised children in Malawi when prosecuting his homosexuality case

High Court of Malawi Judge Mandala Mambulasa has recused himself from a three-member Constitutional Court panel hearing a case in which some applicants want the court to declare the country’s sex laws unconstitutional.

Attorney General Thabo Chakaka has told journalists that the state is satisfied with the first day of hearing of the constitutional case in which human rights groups want the court to legalize same sex practices in Malawi.

The case has since been adjourned to July 17th -19th July, 2023 to give parties ample time serve each other with relevant documents and also because AG has other engagements.

Chakaka said they managed to demonstrate that the expert witness brought by the human rights groups to support their case was biased because she is also gay.

“She admitted in court that she was gay. It is therefore clear to us that she is biased and her report is not objective because she belongs to the LGBTI community so she cannot speak ill about them,” he said.

Before admitting she was gay when state lawyer Victor Jere quizzed her, the German expert, Professor Alexandra Muller, medical doctor by profession, also admitted she had never interacted with Jona Gonani, the victim she was testifying for.

“We also demonstrated that the evidence she brought to court which is in form of a research had no relevance to the matter at hand because she had never interacted with the claimant, Gonani,” he said.

The Attorney General also demonstrated that the research paper which Muller presented as evidence in court was corrupt because they used dubious methods of collecting data and further that the data was not verified independently.

“She admitted using social media platforms to conduct the research which means anyone could have answered the questionnaire whether a gay person or not. And there was no other mechanism to verify whether the person on the other end was giving truthful information or not.

“We also proved before the court that Gonani who is gay was in fact the one who was perpetrating violence towards others. According to court records Gonani who was convicted of multiple offences, beat up people and violently took money and phones from men he tried trick to have sex with as he pretended to be a lady,” he said.

The Attorney General said the research conducted by Muller lacked merit and failed miserably to show connection how laws that criminalise same sex practices caused poor health among LGBTI, how the laws caused violence against them, how the laws caused alcohol abuse and suicide attempts.

“Muller did not provide any empirical evidence on how these anti-gays laws could cause another person for example to abuse alcohol. If that were the case, then we must ask which law in our constitution makes ngoni people to drink heavily because they also pride themselves as heavy drinkers. Besides, the research did not care to engage and consult key stakeholders such as hospitals and police who understand and keep reliable records on health issues and the police who investigate suicide cases. They did not consult traditional and religious leaders to enrich the research with better information and to make it inclusive” AG said.

In re-examination Bob Chimkango representing Gonani made sure that the expert reaffirmed the objectivity of the research saying it was certified by University of Malawi and that professor Adamson Muula participated.

Before this hearing, the state also won a victory on the first day of hearing on April 23 when they managed to convince the panel of judges to recuse his lordship judge Mandala Mambulasa from the three judge panel because his views on the matter were already known which raised genuine fears of bias.

In his place, the Chief Justice appointed Justice Chimbizgani Kacheche to join Justices Vikochi Chima and Joseph Chigoma who is the lead Judge.

The case has been brought to constitutional Court by Gonani and Wim Akster. Ginani is accused of obtaining by false pretence and sex against the order nature. Akster is accused of sodomizing six students and three employees at an orphanage in Blantyre. The orphanage offers bursary to needy students and he took advantage to threaten he would not pay school fees if they did not gratify his gay demands.

The lawyers representing friends of the court include Frank Mbeta and Yasin Domasi representing the Muslim Association of Malawi, Pempho Likongwe and Jimion Nyanda representing the Malawi Council of Churches, Innocentia Ottober representing the Episcopal Conference of Malawi and Bright Theu representing Evangelical Association of Malawi.

Outside the court Muslim women and Christians gathered with placards against same sex practices. This prompted Gonani’s Bob Chimkango to raise security fears to the judges. There were also pro gay people in the courtroom from Zomba Chikwawa and other parts of the country.

However, Justice Chigona said they can only control situations within the court premises not outside. The Attorney General assured all participants the government will beef up security personnel at the next hearing.

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