The British government has denied legalising gay relationships is a precondition that it has set for Malawi to be a beneficiary of its aid.

The United Kingdom (UK) Secretary for International Development Andrew Mitchell said this Thursday at a press briefing he had alongside President Joyce Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.

Mitchell said even though the UK champions the promotion of human rights, it has not particularly attached its aid to gay rights as had been earlier reported.

He said Britain understands that the issue of minority rights, specifically gay rights, can never be incorporated with haste bearing in mind that it even took years for the developed countries to embrace the idea.

“The emphasis on this has slightly been over read sometimes in the press. All of us are on a journey on the issue of rights for all minorities.

“In Britain it took us hundreds of years to make that journey. I think that Malawi is on a similar journey.

“I know that the President has encouraged the matters for discussion in parliament. But our aid is not tied to specific progress in these areas but I think you are on a journey just like we were on forex.

“What we have done to help immediately and directly is to have provided some £33 million of currency support; that is more than $50 million.

“Although the programmes are in this specific area, it is the foreign currency which we know and believe will assist the value of the Kwacha,” he said.

Mitchell commended Banda’s government for the appointment of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners and repealing some laws deemed as undemocratic such as the Civil Procedures Law (commonly known as the Injunction Law) and amended Section 46 of the penal code which empowered a government minister to ban publications.

He also hailed Banda’s decision to either sell or lease the presidential jet whose purchase irked donors who considered it an extravagant expenditure.

He described the decision and the getting rid of some of the contested spending decisions of the past as “an enormously encouraging signal to the international community and donors” taken by the Banda administration.

On the exchange of diplomats President Banda said the British government has already submitted the name of its new High Commissioner to Malawi.

Banda recently appointed Benard Sande as Malawi’s High Commissioner to Britain and said Sande had already been approved by parliament.

At the function, the UK secretary also launched the operation plan for the Department for International Development (DFID) in Malawi for the next three years.

a journey and that is a journey which needs time to take place.

“But I emphasise that British support this time, the support that we have outlined, is not predicated on that basis,” Mitchell said.

On Britain’s assistance to Malawi to curb the current fuel and forex shortages, Mitchell said his government has injected a total of £33million worth of forex in the education, agriculture and health sector.

This sum, he said, will cushion the shortage of forex thereby allowing Malawi to make important purchases using the other available forex. forex.

“What we have done to help immediately and directly is to have provided some £33 million of currency support; that is more than $50 million.

“Although the programmes are in this specific area, it is the foreign currency which we know and believe will assist the value of the Kwacha,” he said.

Mitchell commended Banda’s government for the appointment of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners and repealing some laws deemed as undemocratic such as the Civil Procedures Law (commonly known as the Injunction Law) and amended Section 46 of the penal code which empowered a government minister to ban publications.

He also hailed Banda’s decision to either sell or lease the presidential jet whose purchase irked donors who considered it an extravagant expenditure.

He described the decision and the getting rid of some of the contested spending decisions of the past as “an enormously encouraging signal to the international community and donors” taken by the Banda administration.

On the exchange of diplomats President Banda said the British government has already submitted the name of its new High Commissioner to Malawi.

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