Breaking wind is set to be made a crime in an African country.
The government of Malawi plan to punish persistent offenders ‘who foul the air’ in a bid to ‘mould responsible and disciplined citizens.’
But locals fear that pinning responsibility on the crime will be difficult – and may lead to miscarriages of justice as ‘criminals’ attempt to blame others for their offence.
One Malawian told the website Africanews.com: ‘My goodness. What happens in a public place where a group is gathered. Do they lock up half a minibus?
‘And how about at meetings where it is difficult to pinpoint ‘culprits’?
‘Children will openly deny having passed bad air and point at an elder. Culturally, this is very embarrassing,’ she said.
Another said: ‘We have serious issues affecting Malawians today. I do not know how fouling the air should take priority over regulating Chinese investments which do not employ locals, serious graft amongst legislators, especially those in the ruling party, and many more.’
The crime will be enforceable in a new ‘Local Court’ system which will also have powers to punish a range of other crimes in the bill set to be debated in the country’s parliament.
These include insulting the modesty of a woman, challenging to fight a duel, and trespassing on a burial place.
It also outlaws pretending to be a fortune teller, according to local press in the country.
Opposition leaders complain the new courts will be ‘kangaroo courts’.