The gay couple, Tionge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, were later released following a presidential pardon but the law remains in force.
President Banda’s announcement has sparked a debate over whether Malawi should accept everything that the donors tell them to do, even if it is against the cultural and religious background of the society.
Among the strongest views come from Malawi's powerful evangelical community. Billy Mayaya of the Church and Society, a social and development wing of the Church of the Central Africa Presbyterian [CCAP] of Nkhoma Synod in Lilongwe, says that President Banda should consult with citizens before making such a drastic change in Malawian law.
“There is need for proper consultation before the law if referred back to the Malawi Law Society and then Parliament, says Mr. Mayaya. "Malawians need to be consulted. Over the years, the church has also made its stand on this sticky issue very clear. I feel Malawians have the right to discuss what constitutes different sexual orientations before a law is put in place.”
The Nkhoma Synod, in a pastoral letter, wrote that the Bible condemns homosexuality.