Rumphi First Grade Magistrate Sophie Chimaliro on Friday sentenced a 21-year-old Phwezi Boys Private Secondary School student to six years imprisonment with hard labour for sodomising a school mate.

Police in the district on Wednesday arrested Matthias Maweta, a Form Four student, on suspicion that he sodomised a 14-year-old school mate.

He pleaded guilty. Rumphi police spokesperson Victor Khamisi confirmed the incident.

“It is said that the suspect went to drink beer on Monday and on returning to the school he found the suspect in a urinal at the school. That is where he is suspected to have committed the offence,” he said.

Khamisi said Maweta used a condom in his homosexual act on his Form Two victim.

When news of the incident spread around the campus, some students got angry and threatened to beat up the suspect. Khamisi said authorities at the school whisked Maweta away and locked him up in an office.

This further infuriated the students who wanted to break school property prompting the school administration to alert the police.

Rumphi District Hospital Officer Gift Kawalazira confirmed anal penetration when the victim was examined. He said the victim was “traumatised” by the incident.

Maweta, who hails from Mkwate Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mulumbe in Zomba, confessed to police that he performed the homosexual act. He, however, denied being gay, saying he acted under the influence of alcohol.

Sodomy in Malawi falls under unnatural acts and buggery under Section 153 of the Penal Code. It attracts a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour.

According to Northern Region police spokesperson Norrah Chimwala, this is the first time such an incident has ever been recorded involving children in the region.

“It is also not known whether this is a result of peer pressure, watching pornographic movies or failure to control natural feelings,” she said.

Malawi’s first openly gay couple, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza – who were arrested in December 2009, were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour in May 2010. It had to take the intervention of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to secure a pardon from the late president Bingu wa Mutharika. – Malawi News

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