Zambia still angry at UN chief's gay appeal

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon bidding farewell to Zambians before his departure from Hurry Mwaanga Nhkumbula International Airport in Livingstone. His call for respect of gays has provoked angry debate in the southern Africa state. MICHAEL CHAWE | AFRICA REVIEW 

Zambians continue to react angrily to calls by UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to them to respect the rights of homosexuals.

The debate, which has also dominated social network sites like Facebook, has been raging two days after the departure of the UN chief, who was a on three-day visit.

Law Associations of Zambia vice-president Martin Musaluke argued that it was unattainable to recognise gay rights, because homosexuality was prohibited in the country and people convicted of the offence were liable to face stiff punishment.

“Having sexual intercourse with a person of the same gender is considered to be an act against the order of nature,” Mr Musaluke said.

“It therefore follows that whoever practices this act, or encourages another person to do so, commits a felony under the current laws.”

Leader of opposition in Parliament Felix Mutati said they would not support any legislation that may be tabled for endorsement to legalise homosexuality.

Mr Mutati challenged the government to categorically state its position on the matter.

Donor dependence

“Our position is very clear, we will go by what is currently in the constitution. Anything below that will be abrogating values. Zambia is a Christian nation and Christianity is against homosexuality, so any position to change the status quo will be a tough one,” Mr Mutati said.

Some churches have also condemned suggestions by Mr Ban that there should be no discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation.

The churches have stressed that the message from the UN chief was inappropriate to Zambia and several other African countries because homosexuality was illegal.

Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Pukuta Mwanza said Mr Ban’s “diplomatic” message on homosexuals enjoying their human rights was aimed at persuading countries where the practice was illegal to legalise it.

“I advise Zambians to wake up and work hard so that we can reduce on donor dependence on donor funds with inappropriate conditions that are contrary to our religious and traditional values,” the Reverend Mwanza said.

There has been no official comment from the government on the matter.

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