Zambia doubles-down with threats to ‘stiffen laws against homosexuality’

By Cathy Kristofferson, April 13, 2013

crossfileblogradioVery early this morning (7am BST) HIV/Aids activist Paul Kasonkomona was to speak on the Crossfire BlogRadio program about his recent arrest for advocating for gay rights. Due to legal issues surrounding his going on the radio similar to the TV appearance which sparked his arrest, along with death threats to him, the show and its hosts, he never was able to join the show.

While waiting for the show to start I was watching one advertiser’s Facebook wall post regarding the show and saw Comments like:

FLAVAFM “Seldom and Gomorrah…
Zambia being a christian nation, gay-ism is contrary to the nation’s law and if caught would be face serious consequences. What should be the penalty for people practicing homosexually?”

Among the first few comments were:

“Hang to death no need of takin them to any court straight to grave”, “Hang to death…………”, and “being gay ent normal so i suggest mental evaluation!then Death By Drowning”.

This should give you a flavor of the environment that Paul and the Zambian LGBTI community are living in.

The Radio discussion without Paul was quite interesting.  It raised questions such as: Should Zambia should be denying freedom of expression? What subject will be next to be kept out of the public debate?  And because Zambia has signed onto the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights surely it should abide by all of its obligations?

The podcast of the entire 2 hour show is here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/politicalcrossfire/2013/04/13/paul-kasonkoma–hivaids-activist

After the show, the disappointed host Mueti Moomba posted:

“I have hosted more controversial radio shows than this and for people to set up fake accounts and send me death threats is uncalled for. I AM NOT SCARED of little thugs who are not bold enough to tell me that to the face. I am Zambian and I will always be. I will speak my mind because it is my constitutional right …”

chishimba-Kambwili
Courtesy zambiareports.com

We already reported the hunt by police against the LGBT community in Zambia. Now reports out of Zambia indicate that the Government is intent on doubling-down on their threats to the LGBTI community.  Multiple sites, including Zambain Watchdog, are reporting that the Minister of Youth and Sport – Chishimba Kambwili – while speaking live on the radio program ‘Let the People Talk’  said:

Government will “not tolerate nonsense” and that homosexuality will not prevail in this country. “We don’t want Zambia’s children to be taught any vice. We will not tolerate homosexuality. Those who want to promote homosexuality in Zambia are wasting their time. If anything, we are planning to stiffen laws against homosexuality,” he said.

Zambia is a former British Colony, as so many other African nations are, and as such inherited the colonial penal code which made homosexuality illegal.  This law has remained largely unchanged since then.  Same-sex sexual activity is illegal for both males and females.

Courtesy postzambia.com
Courtesy postzambia.com

Also speaking on the program was US-based Zambian Evangelist Edward Chomba who said “homosexuality should not be given a chance in the country.”  

He claimed:

“…even in a liberal country like the United States, where he has spent more than two decades, very few people support homosexuality. It is a statement of fact that 88 percent of Americans don’t support homosexuality. I don’t see why Zambia should fall for such a vice.”

He also said the activists are advocating homosexuality in the name of human rights but that homosexuality is not a human right.

There is a new common refrain coming out of these countries unwilling to accept the LGBTI community’s human rights.  It builds on the meme that homosexuality is Un-African and simply something being forced on them by the West.   

Recently South African Bishop Napier spoke of:

  “a new kind of slavery, with America saying you won’t get aid unless you distribute condoms, legalize homosexuality …”.  

Evangelical Chomba insisted Zambia would not fall prey to this type of extortion:

” if the Western communities want to bring funds to Zambia with a condition that we support homosexuality, then the money is not coming from pure hearts. To hell with their money.”

We will continue to follow this escalating issue in Zambia.  Many in the LGBTI community have gone into hiding due to calls for rounding them up as the BLOG reported on Wednesday here.

Times of Zambia
Times of Zambia

Meanwhile Paul Kasonkomona, who maintains his innocence is finally free on bail and clearly unable to speak with anyone lest he be arrested again.  

He is due back in court on May 15th.

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