(CNN)The authorities of Malawi has defended its determination to invitation the erstwhile heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson to go the country's authoritative cannabis ambassador pursuing a backlash implicit his condemnation for rape successful the 1990s.
Malawi legalized the increasing and processing of cannabis for medicinal purposes past year, though it stopped abbreviated of decriminalizing recreational use.
This week, Malawi's agriculture curate Lobin Low sent a missive to Tyson -- who has been involved successful the cannabis industry successful the US done assorted ventures -- inviting him to go the look of the country's cannabis manufacture successful a bid to pull investors and make much opportunities for tourism.
The ministry did not accidental whether Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champion successful past successful 1986, had accepted its offer.
CNN has contacted Tyson's representatives and the US Cannabis Association, which the ministry said was progressive successful the deal, for comment.
The determination has raised controversy, with Malawian deliberation vessel the Centre for Public Accountability (CPA) accusing the authorities of ignoring Tyson's past convictions.
The 55-year-old boxer was jailed successful 1992 aft being convicted of raping Desiree Washington, a Miss Black America contestant, successful a edifice room. He was released successful 1995.
Kondwani Munthali, acting manager of the CPA, said successful a connection sent to CNN Friday that appointing a convicted rapist would beryllium "wrong," adding: "Yes helium paid his indebtedness 3 years helium was successful jail, but we are saying to beryllium the look of a federation is thing beyond reformatory. We would privation (a) little arguable quality than Tyson."
However, Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu dismissed the disapproval successful a connection to CNN Friday, saying: "Malawi arsenic a federation believes that Mr. Tyson is simply a close and reformed idiosyncratic arsenic helium was released connected parole."
Lungu added that "the motivation entreaty by immoderate quarters, to proceed holding Mr. Tyson to a partition of motivation incapacity doesn't clasp water."
Minister of gender, Patricia Kaliati, echoed Lungu's sentiments.
She told CNN Friday that she did not spot determination being a occupation with the government's prime of ambassador arsenic Tyson is simply a salient businessman with a bully cognition of the cannabis business.
"It's astir business, (and) economical concern of cannabis," Kaliati said, adding: "We look for the salient people, the determination makers who tin accidental a happening which tin beryllium recognized internationally."
She said that his relation would beryllium focused connected concern and "he's not going to beryllium moving with the curate of sex connected issues to bash with women and children."