Zambian human rights defender Chalwe Charles Mwansa sees anti-gay statements by presidential candidate Edgar Lungu as straying from Zambia’s founding principles.
By Chalwe Charles Mwansa
In Africa, homosexuality remains largely feared, misunderstood, illegal and heavily punishable. Yet Africa is made up of thousands of ethnic groups with rich and diverse cultures and sexualities.
Recently, Zambia’s defense and Patriotic Front’s presidential aspirant Mr. Edgar Lungu, a leader loved and respected by many Zambians, who would undoubtedly make a good leader, spoke about homosexuality on the campaign trail in Mongu town, Southern Province. He was quoted in the Lusaka Times as having said on 12th December, 2014:
“We will not support homosexuality. I will not compromise human nature because of money.”
My concern lies with the fact that he, like many politicians before him, is using LGBT persons as a scapegoat to promote his political ambitions. This is a form of political blackmail and a core violation of human rights.
Zambia as a nation post-independence was built and united on the tenet of “A One Zambia, One Nation,” a position that was first advocated by the country’s founding father, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, who understood the value of promoting diversity and unifying a nation, irrespective on one’s tribal affiliations, race, gender, political opinion, religious belief and, in the broader sense, sexual orientation and gender identity .
Therefore when a government leader such as Mr. Lungu negatively issues a public statement, stating that he will not support homosexuality and “will not compromise human nature,” he fails as a leader in his mission to protect the rights of the minority (i.e. LGBT persons).
They are Zambians too and contribute to the economic, social and cultural welfare of the country.
When we begin to enact laws imposing morality or belief systems, then we begin to walk the narrow road to purgatory.
- Edgar Lungu says he can’t abandon Sata’s vision and will not support Gay rights (Lusaka Times)
- Seeking African dialogue on behalf of LGBT Zambians (76crimes.com)
LGBT in Zambia: ‘How many more lives will be ruined?’ (76crimes.com)
How to help victims of anti-gay laws in Zambia (76crimes.com)
Advocacy under fire: pushing for change on LGBT issues in Zambia (Democracy in Africa)
Zambia official seeks probe of same-sex brides, grooms (April 2013, 76crimes.com)