Anti-gay politician undercuts Zambia’s principles

Chalwe Charles Mwansa
Chalwe Charles Mwansa is a Zambian human rights defender

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.”

Presidential candidate Edgar Lungu at a political rally this month in the Mongu District of Zambia. (Photo courtesy of Lusaka Times)
Presidential candidate Edgar Lungu at a political rally this month in the Mongu District of Zambia. (Photo courtesy of Lusaka Times)

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 .

Kenneth Kaunda in 1983. (Photo via Wikimedia)
Kenneth Kaunda in 1983. (Photo via Wikimedia)

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.

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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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