Dr. Dawg

Malawi: the limits of democracy

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Breaking news from Malawi: farting in public may shortly be criminalized. The practice, according to the sponsor of the bill, is a consequence of democratic reforms:

Justice and constitutional affairs minister George Chaponda told Capital Radio: “The government has a right to ensure public decency. We are entitled to introduce order in the country.

“Would you like to see people farting in public anywhere? It was not there during the time of dictatorship because people were afraid of the consequences. Now because of multipartism or freedom, people would like to fart anywhere.”

The Bill actually states: “Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighborhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” Interpretations differ, and the country’s Solicitor General sharply disagrees with the Justice Minister:

Anthony Kamanga [argued] that the “fouling the air” reference only directly meant air pollution. “How any reasonable or sensible person can construe the provision to criminalizing farting in public is beyond me,” he said.

Perhaps the upcoming parliamentary debate will clear the air.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on February 5, 2011 11:27 AM.

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