Malawi to ban farting?

Malawi doesn’t make it into the news often. The relatively small southeastern African country, close to Honduras in size, has a population of around 15 million. According to the International Monetary Fund and the CIA World Factbook, Malawi is one of the world’s five poorest countries in terms of per capita income.

All that should change for the next week or so, however, due to the ban on farting currently under debate in the country. Yes, you read that correctly, and I’ll repeat. The adoption of a bill prohibiting farting is under consideration in Malawi.

Or is it? There seems to be some disagreement over what the bill would actually prohibit. The BBC reported this morning on a feud between two government officials over the bill, which would aim to turn pollution of the atmosphere “in any place so as to make it noxious to the public” into a misdemeanor. Justice Minister George Chaponda has interpreted the bill to extend to farting, while Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga insists that it should be interpreted as referring exclusively to pollution.

It would be a shame if this scuffle were to derail Malawi’s growth as a destination for tourists. The country’s profile as a tourist destination is currently rising and it’s not difficult to understand why. Malawi boasts beach lodges along Lake Malawi and national parks teeming with wildlife, with Liwonde National Park in the south of the country and Nyika National Park in the north particularly noteworthy.
[Image: Flickr | frankdouwes]