Africa

Anti-gay politician sworn in as Zambian president

Edgar Lungu (Photo courtesy of  WinstonMuleba,blogspot.com)

Edgar Lungu (Photo courtesy of WinstonMuleba,blogspot.com)

Anti-gay Zambian defense  minister Edgar Lungu was inaugurated today as president of Zambia. By a majority of 48.3 percent to 46.7 percent, he  won the Jan.  20 election to fill the remainder of the term of former President Michael Sata, who died in October.

Lungu is a long-time opponent of gay rights. In 2013, as Zambia’s minister of home affairs, he urged the police to investigate a (never-confirmed) report that four same-sex couples tried to register gay marriages in the Zambian capital.

In November, he accused newspaper writers of being gay after they suggested that he drinks too much.

Kenyan activist/journalist Denis Nzioka, in an article entitled “Zambia elects homophobe as President,” commented:

“Lungu’s homophobic past may not go down well with some as he has, in the past, been public – and vocal – on his opposition to homosexuality. Last year, while he campaigned for the Presidency, Lungu warned he will not support gay rights in Zambia. Speaking at a public rally in Mongu, the then Defence Minister said he was not going to compromise human nature because of money.”

Lungu not only refuses to acknowledge the human rights of LGBTI people, but also repeats the widely believed falsehood that homosexuality is an un-African import, created by financial incentives from the West. As Nzioka stated:

“In an interview with the Daily Mail, Lungu said such rights have no place in Zambia and the PF [Patriotic Front] government is not ready to recognize or accept them.

” ‘This is unZambian; it is not part of our culture. I know some money-hungry civil society organisations will fall for the money but we are waiting to see which Zambian will get the money and start championing same sex marriages.’ “

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