- Southern Africa
Shamed Malawi gay couple break-up, one to remarry
Hardly a fortnight after narrowly avoiding the agony of spending 14 years in jail with hard labor, the controversial Malawi gay couple has broken up, reports say.
Their break-up which came on Tuesday has surprised many following an announcement that one of the men has decided to remarry.
Steven Monjeza (26) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) were arrested in December after holding a wedding ceremony. The two spent where kept in custody for five months, convicted in May but got a presidential pardon from President Bingu wa Mutharika. on May 29.
"I am no longer in love with Tiwonge Chimbalanga. I am in love with a woman called Dorothy Gulo. We are planning something for the future with Dorothy” Monjeza is quoted saying. “I have never had sex with him” he added.
Chimbalanga who is said to be well known as Aunt Tiwo is quoted saying he is shocked with the news that his gay partner Monjeza has dumped him and is now dating the 24 year old woman.
He said he has just learnt the news from the newspaper and he was "sad that he [Steven Monjeza] has communicated to the press without talking to me,” said Chimbalanga. “I respect his decision to marry a woman. He has a right to make that decision but I will remain a gay,” he said.
According to Chimbalanga the sudden conversion of Monjeza was due to family and societal pressure. “There is too much talk around and too much [homophobia],” said Chimbalanga.
The couple were pardoned by President Mutharika after worldwide condemnation. The couple’s sentencing drew sharp criticism from Western donors who bankroll much of Malawi’s budget, and prompted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call for the reform of anti-gay laws around the world.