UPDATE @ 7:19 PM: Via Joe.My.God, a spokeperson said the U.S. State Department is “deeply disappointed” by these convictions, which he also called a “step backward in the protection of human rights in Malawi.”
The U.S. Government has supplied Malawi with over $70 million worth of aid. I find it particularly egregious that part of the aid was to “increase civic involvement in the rule of law.”
The primary goal of USAID assistance is poverty reduction and increased food security through broad-based, market-led economic growth, focusing on four areas: sustainable increases in rural incomes, increased civic involvement in the rule of law, improved access to and quality of health services, and improved access to quality basic education. The USAID program is implemented in partnership with the Government of Malawi, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other U.S. Government agencies, U.S. private voluntary organizations, contractors, and other partners, including the private sector through public-private partnerships.
The State Department needs to pressure Malawi to shape up or we need to threaten to cut aid to them. Our tax dollars shouldn’t be supporting this kind of terrorism against gay people.
Malawi, a deeply impoverished, landlocked nation of 14 million, has also received international condemnation for prosecuting the two gay men. But most of its leaders — political and religious — have reacted with defiance. Last month, President Bingu wa Mutharika was quoted as calling homosexuality “evil and bad before the eyes of God” and an act “we Malawians just do not do.”
Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa, in delivering Tuesday’s judgment in a small courtroom in Blantyre, the country’s commercial capital, was similarly stern. He referred to the crime as “buggery,” using language from when Malawi was a British colony and the current law was written.
He found both men guilty of “carnal knowledge” that was “against the order of nature.” He said the two had been “living together as husband and wife,” which “transgresses the Malawian recognized standards of propriety.”
I don’t mind my gay tax dollars going to help educate other countries, or fight HIV / AIDS but I’ll be damned if our American taxes, paid by the LGBT citizens of this country, should go to increase “civil participation” of a populace and leadership who are so proudly and defiantly homophobic.