Monday, 15 February 2010
Malawi Defends Itself
Ex-First Minister Jack McConnell set up the Scotland-Malawi Partnership because there have been strong civil society links between the two countries for more than 150 years and he recognised there are a number of Scottish individuals and organisations with kinks to Malawi and a need to coordinate these in order to improve effectiveness and avoid duplication in effort. This began with David Livingstone's journey to Malawi in 1859 and has continued to grow.
However, members of parliament in Malawi have criticised British and Scottish MPs for meddling in their affairs. The Africa News reports:
'The western law makers, particularly the Scots, continue to discuss and criticise Malawi for the arrest of gay couple Steve Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga.
Kondwani Nankuluma of the Legal Affairs committee of parliament said it was wrong for the Scottish MPs to meddle in Malawi's business.
"We are following our laws and proceeding with the case for the two in the courts. They have no part in this business as we have laws and we are following it. Why do they keep pestering us to release the two?" he said.'
Fiona Hyslop, the External Affairs Minister of the Scottish Parliament, is undertaking a visit to Malawi next week to see the impact of Scottish Government funded development projects at first hand.
Why do we have this desire to insist all other countries must have the same laws as us? Scotland has no right to harass any country. Giving aid to a country does not give us the right to tell them how to govern.
We would be much better respecting the laws of Malawi but gently reminding them that we don't approve of gay people being persecuted for their sexuality. That is the best we can do without causing offence.