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New Malawian President wants to overturn anti-gay laws

Acccording to the BBC, Malawi’s new President, Joyce Banda — who took power after her predecessor died of a heart attack — has announced her desire to overturn a ban on homosexual acts. I had been wondering whether Obama’s statement might have an impact on African governments, and obviously it’s hard to infer whether or not there’s a connection (there is no mention in the article). She may also be acting out of concern for aid conditionality.

But the timing does make me wonder.

She will undoubtedly face pushback from conservative members of society, but Malawi stands to be the first African country since the onset of the post-apartheid era in South Africa (1994) to act with greater tolerance and concern for human rights for gays.

About Evan Lieberman

I am a Professor of Political Science at MIT, and I conduct research, write, and teach about development, ethnic politics, and research methods.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “New Malawian President wants to overturn anti-gay laws

  1. it turns out Joyce Banda doesn’t actually want to overturn the penal codes on same-sex acts: http://habanahaba.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/malawi-presidents-state-of-the-nation-and-homosexuality/

    Posted by dadakim | May 22, 2012, 2:37 pm
  2. The story is changing daily… just this morning (Malawi time) her Attorney General/Minister of Justice (Ralph Kasambara) has said that two women reported to have had an engagement ceremony will not be prosecuted since the laws pertaining to alleged same-sex acts are “under review.” There’s a big uproar among the public in Malawi, with some going so far to say they’d have demonstrations if the law is repealed. All I can say at this point is this issue is an interesting one to watch in Malawi.

    Posted by dadakim | May 23, 2012, 9:01 am

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  1. Pingback: Same-sex unions in Africa « evan lieberman - May 23, 2012

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