THE British government says it has not asked the Zambian government to legalise gay rights as a pre-condition to receiving aid.
British High Commissioner to Zambia Thomas Carter said the UK government’s provision of development aid to the Zambian government is on the basis of commitment to the reduction of poverty, respect for human rights and issues pertaining to good governance.
Mr Carter said in a statement made available in Lusaka that the British government engages in regular dialogue with its Zambian counterparts to monitor their commitment to progress against underlying principles.
“The UK government’s provision of development assistance to the Government of Zambia is on the basis of its overall commitment to reducing poverty; respecting human rights; improving public financial management; fighting corruption and promoting good governance and transparency,” he said.
He said the UK government raises issues with governments when there are serious and systematic violations of those rights. Mr Carter said to date the issue of gay rights has not arisen with the Zambian government.
His comment follows a statement that was made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in Perth, Australia, during the Commonwealth heads of government meeting that human rights reform in the Commonwealth was one issue on which leaders failed to reach agreement.
Mr Cameron was reported to have said that countries receiving UK aid should adhere to proper human rights and end a ban on homosexuality.
And the Zambia Episcopal Conference has maintained that homosexuality is wrong and that Zambia as a Christian nation should not support such acts. ZEC spokesperson Paul Samasumo said the Catholic Church has not changed the position it had during the campaign period for last month’s tripartite elections when the issue on homosexuality was at the centre of political debate.
Father Samasumo, however, said in an interview that it is not right to discriminate against people practising homosexuality. “It is clear that we made comments during the campaign period on homosexuality because the Catholic Church regards all homosexual acts as wrong,” he said.
Fr Samasumo said homosexuals need help from the Christian community. He, however, said it is not good for Christians to prejudice people who they think are doing wrong.
ON Wednesday, Chief government spokesperson Given Lubinda said that Zambia will not enact pro-homosexuality laws in a bid to get British aid. Mr. Lubinda said the country would only enact laws supported by its citizens and in line with the Zambian culture.
“David Cameron must be reminded of what we agreed when we met in Paris for the Paris Declaration. Cameron was there, I was there,” said Mr Lubinda, an opposition parliamentarian at the time the Paris Declaration was penned.
He added: “When we met in Ghana, we came up with the Accra Agenda for Action and both those declarations are that no country will use its aid to influence the policies of an aid receiving country.”
He said Zambia was a sovereign state and would make independent decisions on which laws to enact.
“It is wrong for Mr Cameron to try and use aid as a way of influencing policies and laws of Zambia or any other country for that matter,” said Mr Lubinda.
“Zambia will not be pressured to formulate laws or policies by any foreign government,” Mr Lubinda told Lusaka-based Hot FM Radio
[Zambia Daily Mail]