Malawi bill seeks to punish public farting and fortune tellers

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Malawi government is set to introduce a set of laws that would render life, in one way or another, interesting for its citizens.

While no country wants its citizens to be idle, disorderly, or drunkards who cause nuisance in any public sphere, the Malawi is reportedly set to make a set of behaviours punishable by law.

The Bingu wa Mutharika led administration is to introduce a raft of legislation that seeks to criminalize an everyday natural occurrence of “passing gas” with the intention to “mould responsible and disciple citizens”

The bill, reports say, also seeks to punish “any person disturbing religious assemblies, trespassing on burial places,” or “insulting the modesty of a woman”.

However, John Tembo, leader of the southern African country’s opposition, is quoted saying that “the establishment of a kangaroo like court will not be ideal for a democracy (…) Its tactic and the people of this country cannot in fairness appreciate the integrity of this proposal (…) I don’t think today in a multi party state we can have too parallel courts system,” Tembo is quoted saying.

The Local Courts Bill of 2010, according to Malawi media reports, is to be presented in the forthcoming Parliament sitting by Minister of Justice, George Chaponda. The bill, reports say, also deals with citizens who hinder the burial of dead bodies as well as people who pretend to be fortune tellers.

Mr. John Tembo’s criticism of the bill is believed to have stricken a chord with local critics who argue that the capacity of the local justice system to handle the expected influx of cases is questionable.

The bill, which has generated mixed feelings in Malawi, will cover other offenses including the carrying of offensive weapons without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, fighting in public, challenging to fight a duel, deceiving witnesses, destroying evidence, escape and removal of property under lawful seizure.

Commenting on the bill, a Malawian is quoted as saying: “How can this government criminalise the release of intestinal gases …. Everyone does that, even if it’s in public or it has an accompanying sound which is boring, making it criminal is a joke of democracy”

Another said he “support(s) the bill and is welcome. Sometimes breaking wind in public or during meetings is a disturbance of the peace”.

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