Former presidents of Botswana and Zambia, Festus Mogae and Kenneth Kaunda have condemned the criminalization of homosexuality and sex work by Malawi and some African countries, warning that would inhibit the fight against HIV/Aids.
The two former Southern Africa leaders are visiting Malawi on five-day visit in their capacity as Champions of HIV free Generation in their quest to advocate for an HIV free generation.
A Malawian publication, Nyasatimes reports that the two former presidents were quoted at a news conference in the capital Lilongwe on Wednesday/
According to Nyasa times, the two leaders said Malawi should ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, arrests or detention.
Mogae, who chairs a team dubbed ‘Champions of an HIV-Free Generation’ that comprise prominent African anti-Aids activists, said homosexuals and sex workers were part of society and they should not be stigmatised or discriminated.
“People who practice homosexuality should not be criminalized or stigmatize to avoid the spread of new infections,” said Mogae.
The former Botswana president appealed to African governments to provide condoms in prison as he said it is where there is a lot of breed of HIV infection through homosexual acts.
“Why is it that men who go to prison without HIV infection when they come out they are tested positive,” he said.
On his part, Kaunda called for a change of approach and urged such leaders to start recognising the minority groups, if the fight against the pandemic is to yield positive results.
He said the continent is faced with perpetrators of worst crimes therefore punishing gays and lesbians is not necessary