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Report: Malawi Couple Breaks Up

Report: Malawi Couple Breaks Up


The Malawi couple pardoned by the country's president in late May have split, and one of them is now dating a new woman, Reuters reports.

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who identifies as a transgender woman, were arrested and imprisoned last December after engaging in what officials considered an illegal same-sex commitment ceremony. They were sentenced to 14 years in prison in May but then were pardoned by Malawi's president at the urging of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Now a Malawi paper, The Nation, reports that Monjeza says he was coerced into the relationship with Chimbalanga and that he is now dating a 24-year-old woman named Dorothy Gulo. Monjeza also says he was forced into a giving a press conference with Chimbalanga last week, where the two praised the president for pardoning them.

"We were pardoned but I know the law can bounce back on us if we are not careful," Monjeza told The Nation. "Although I claimed I still love Tiwo, I did not mean it. I have never had sex with him as was revealed in court. That is why the medical examination failed to establish any anal penetration. I was coerced into the whole thing.

"They forcefully picked me up from my house in Kameza when I was drunk," he continued, evidently speaking about his participation in the press conference. "They bundled me into their car and said they were taking me for a drink. Indeed, I was treated to a drinking orgy throughout the journey but no one revealed where we were going until I reached a house in Lilongwe to find Tiwo.

"He told me there were many countries willing to take us but I told him I was not interested and would not go.... I know there are people on a mission to lure me into doing things against my wish. I will not relent... I am not a fool. They have gone to the extent of involving my family to convince me to change my mind.

"These people came in a four-wheel drive to pick me. One of them was white and concealed his identity by staying in the car while the other two were talking to me. I have been forced to come to the media so I can be left alone. If they return, I will expose them more."

Earlier, Chimbalanga told reporters that she still hopes to marry Monjeza and that she hopes they can be granted asylum in some other country.

Monjeza's new girlfriend told The Nation that she is "looking forward to a future with [Monjeza].... I don't care what people say. But I am yet to tell my parents."

Watch a video below (unfortunately not in English), in which Monjeza and his new partner speak about the new arrangement:

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