Things in Malawi should have been all wrapped up; instead, they’re getting stranger by the minute.
Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalang were arrested in Malawi for homosexuality and sentenced to 14 years in prison before being pardoned by the president amidst intense international pressure. Several countries have since offered the couple asylum, paving the way for the two to live their lives blissfully abroad without unjust laws criminalizing their personal relationship.
Well, things aren’t panning out that way.
Steven, having been released from prison for less than a week, is now claiming that he declared his love for Tiwonge under duress—that he was pressured to pretend the whole story by an unidentified group of people who got him drunk and forced him to play along. “Although, I claimed that I still love Tiwonge,” Steven told The Daily, “I did not mean it.”
If this is true, and I suspect it’s not due to a complete lack of motive and evidence of any responsible parties, this means that Steven perjured himself in court when professing his love and devotion to Tiwonge. As if that’s not odd enough, Steven is now reportedly about to marry someone else, a 24-year-old girl named Dorothy, in what has to be the world’s speediest and most unexpected courtship.
Meanwhile, things have taken a disturbing turn for Tiwonge, the other half of the original relationship. Since being pardoned, Tiwonge has gone missing and no one has been able to locate her.
Note that I use the pronoun “her.” While the mainstream media had been describing the two as a gay male couple throughout the criminal proceedings, and while the two had been arrested and tried for homosexuality, word has gotten out that Tiwonge identifies as a woman—likely transgendered or intersexed. Trans* people face extra hardships, particularly in countries where all letters in the GLBT acronym are criminalized. Hopefully Tiwonge has gone into hiding and is being protected and cared for, even if it’s not with Steven.
Still, whatever is happening, something’s clearly awry.
Well, either that or the crazy anti-gay lobbyists are right: That the GLBT community is really out to recruit unsuspecting Malawians into the dreaded gay lifestyle, but they can totally turn straight and marry in a snap, so long as crazy-harsh and invasive laws are put in place.
- Once again the ‘T’ in LGBT is silenced [The Guardian]
- Gay Malawi couple splits over woman: report [Globe and Mail]
- Malawi gay man risks re-arrest for perjury [Afrique en Ligne]
- Pardoned Malawian gay man missing since release from prison [Montreal Examiner]