DPP presses govt on gays, abortion

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Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Tuesday asked the People’s Party (PP) government to declare its stance on the heated debate on the country’s anti-homosexuality and abortion laws.

After heated exchanges, Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda agreed with the DPP’s modified demand that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara should give a ministerial statement on the matter.

Rising on a supplementary question, Mwanza Central MP Nicholas Dausi asked Kasambara to declare government’s position on the two controversial issues.

“In relation to….the issue of a moratorium on the homosexuality laws, can the minister come out clear on what is government’s position on issues of gays, but also abortion,” said Dausi amid applause from the opposition.

However, the Speaker ruled that Dausi was over-stretching the interpretation of the standing orders and guided the House to drop the matter unless Kasambara opted to respond with the later deciding to remain quite.

Chimunthu observed that while Dausi had a valid issue, he was bringing it without proper procedure.

Leader of the House Henry Phoya chipped in on a point of order, challenging that Dausi was abusing supplementary question standing orders and further accused him of attempting to gain political mileage.

“Some of us are quite aware that there are desperate attempts to gain political mileage through these issues, let’s go by the Speaker’s guidance. This must be left out,” Phoya said.

After Chimunthu had ruled against Dausi, DPP Leader of the House George Chaponda guided the House that the minister should then issue a ministerial statement on the matter, a suggestion which was adopted by the House.

However, there was no time frame when Kasambara should issue a ministerial statement on homosexuality and abortion.

The debate on homosexuality has been revived in the country following local and international media reports that Kasambara had issued a moratorium on the country’s anti-homosexuality laws.

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