Zambia VP after gay-rights arrest: ‘Live and let live’

Guy Scott, vice president of Zambia (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Guy Scott, vice president of Zambia, is a son of English and Scottish immigrants to southern Africa. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Zambian Vice President Guy Scott defends the recent arrest of AIDS activist Paul Kasonkomona as a politically expedient response to Kasonkomona’s appeal for repeal of the nation’s law against same-sex activity.

In an interview with the South African Mail & Guardian, Scott gave no other justification for the arrest.

Overall, Scott argues that the nation has more important issues to face than gay rights.  In his comments to the interviewer, he doesn’t sound at all upset about homosexuality, unlike many of his countrymen. “Live and let live,” he says.

This is the section of the Mail & Guardian article that deals with the issue:

Paul Kasonkomona (Photo courtesy of Muvi TV)
Paul Kasonkomona (Photo courtesy of Muvi TV)

One recent incident in which Zambia’s civil liberties credentials took a battering, however, was the arrest of a human rights activist who had appeared on live TV calling for homosexuality to be decriminalised.

Scott admitted: “The problem with this guy going on television was that we had to do something because if we had done absolutely nothing we would have got a bollocking from all these evangelical churches plus damn idiots. On the other hand, we didn’t want to give him a particularly hard ride.”

As newspapers and television shows whipped up homophobia, Scott set out priorities that offer little consolation to anyone who is gay.

“I think you’ve got so much cleaning up to do of killings and defilements and this and that, it’s almost self-indulgent to think, ‘Well, why don’t we sit here and talk about gay rights?’

“It’s indulgent politics that assumes yes, we don’t actually have seven million unemployed people.

“Realistically, I think even an average gay, if you gave him a list of all the concerns Zambia had, would not necessarily put gay rights on top.”

He went on: “There’s tons of gay joints in this town. Well, not tons but they’re there, well known. It’s entirely the same phenomenon you get anywhere else. It’s live and let live. Stirring up and making it worse, that is the biggest danger. Let sleeping dogs lie is an easier policy.”

For more information, read the full article: “South Africans are backward.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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