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Alba Iulia
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Zambia and Malawi still the most hostile countries for gays-IRR

Headlines Zambia and Malawi still the most hostile countries for gays-IRR

 

 

What are the reasons for the dramatic decline in anti-gay bias in the United States? Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The latest report by the Institute of Race Relations has revealed that Africa is still one of the most hostile regions for LGBTQ people, despite some positive developments.

The institute based its findings on interviews with LGBTQ activists.

The institute conducted interviews with African members and activists of the LGBTQ group.

According to the Human Rights Watch, 32 out of 54 African countries outlawed same-sex activity as of June.

The High Court in Botswana this year struck down two colonial-era laws, effectively legalizing gay sex.

The report compiled by the IRR shows that some political leaders are not willing to accommodate the rights of the homosexual community.

Researcher at the Institute Gerbrandt van Heerden said: “One of the countries that stood out where there is still a lot of oppression is Malawi, as well as Zambia. The President of Zambia actually did say that he would not agree to equal rights for gay people even if it’s at a cost of international aid.”

The research shows that there’s a clear link between education and LGBTQ tolerance with most prestigious schools having a relatively open view of people with alternative sexual orientations and gender expressions.

Below is an interview with “Jason’, a gay activist from Zambia.

Jason (Zambia)

My next interviewee also indicated that he wished to remain anonymous. So, for the purpose of this section, he will be known as Jason. Jason has been an LGBTQ and human rights activist since 2008. He is the co-founder of a local LGBTQ organisation and has also worked for an international organisation in the public health sector. Jason has also held a position in government.

Yet Jason notes that Zambian youths remain highly divided when it comes to this issue. Some are highly accepting of the LGBTQ community while others scoff at the idea of allowing more rights for this group. In terms of the rural/urban divide, Jason says that the capital city of Lusaka is a ‘diverse, cosmopolitan environment’ in which the idea of gay people is ‘nothing new’. Many people in Lusaka are, in other words, not concerned about whether their neighbours or colleagues might be gay or lesbian.

What is apparent from my interview with Jason is that the entertainment industry in Lusaka is a safe haven for LGBTQ people. Many LGBTQ people work within the wedding, fashion and performance arts (singers and dancers) sectors and attitudes within the entertainment industry are more favourable towards those with different sexual orientation and gender identities.

South African personality and one of Africa’s most high-profile gay celebrities, Somizi Mhlongo, was invited by PR Girl Media to be an official guest at the Lusaka July 2019 polo and fashion event, which confirms Jason’s sentiments about a more open-minded entertainment industry. However, the Zambian government reportedly stepped in to ban Mhlongo from attending the event. In a briefing at the New Government Complex in Lusaka, the Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Godfridah Sumaili, as well as a representative from the National Arts Council and two founders of PR Girl Media, addressed the controversy.

Minister Sumaili said that performance artists had a strong influence in society and had the power to alter public perceptions. She went on to say that ‘the government does not condone a situation where event managers are inviting people with questionable character that might undermine the morals of the land’.

Chishimba Nyambe from PR Girl Media adopted a more conciliatory tone and stated that although she personally admired and supported Mhlongo, Zambia was not, unfortunately ready for him yet.
On that note, I asked Jason to elaborate on the government’s position on the LGBTQ community. Zambia’s current president, Edgar Lungu, has said that he will not agree to equal rights for gay people – even at the cost of international aid. I asked Jason if the sentiment held by the president reflected the views of everyone in government or whether some public officials were actively fighting for decriminalising homosexuality. According to Jason, the government – as in so many other African countries – uses the LGBTQ issue as a way of deflecting attention from more pressing problems that result from governance failure. They do this sort of scapegoating with reasonable success. However, Jason has noticed that Zambian society has in recent years become more aware of the government’s deflection tactics. So, when public officials once again highlight the so-called ‘LGBTQ problem’ ordinary Zambians will likely respond: ‘Okay, but what about corruption, poor service delivery and sky-high taxes?’.

Jason also pointed out that LGBTQ activists and civil organisations had been successful in lobbying for gay and transgender rights by focusing on HIV and AIDS. An official government document outlining responses to HIV and AIDS in the country includes the necessity to focus on gay and transgender people. According to the government document, no one in Zambia should be left behind when it comes to fighting HIV and AIDS, including those from the LGBTQ community. The fact that LGBTI people are mentioned a lot in the public health sector can be seen as evidence of LGBTQ civil society organisations’ most successful approaches in lobbying for greater acceptance and inclusion. Intersex people are also being focused on more by the health sector, and the tone on transgender people in the sector has softened.

Zambian LGBTQ organisations have also been successful in creating spaces where people can talk more openly about issues concerning the community. This is so much the case that visibility of LGBTQ people has increased in smaller towns outside Lusaka. Jason refers to himself as part of the ‘old guard’ that paved the way for younger LGBTQ people to be more prominent in pushing for equality. The newer generation is more vocal and more willing to participate in events such as an annual Gay Pride March.

Jason took time to elaborate on some of the bigger obstacles facing gay- and human rights groups in the country. One, he says, is that objective conversations around sexual issues, never mind LGBTQ issues, are not usually widely or openly held. This is because in many sections of Zambian society, the Bible is held as the supreme law. Because religion is so intertwined with politics, matters about sexuality and sex in general are neglected. In order for attitudes to shift in Zambia, there should be a greater focus on the country’s constitution, and enshrining more rights, than an on religious texts. Media houses in Zambia are also partially to blame for the negative perceptions that Zambians have of the LGBTQ community. They are prone to ‘sensationalism’ and often lack ‘professionalism’. It is very easy for anyone in Zambia to create a news vlog in which they can spread hatred and fake news about gay people.

Jason concluded by saying that court action would be the most appropriate way to push for LGBTQ inclusion. Now that the groundwork had been laid in the health sector, civil society and human rights groups had the foundation to build the fight for equality and dignity. ‘LGBTQ people should be humanised. They are tax payers, they have families.’

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Take that gay agenda elsewhere. What do you call countries which push for regime change using guns? Installing puppets for access to oil fields and gold mines? What do you call countries with trigger happy cops who gun down hooded black teens?
    We call them HOSTILE.
    So shut thfck up

    • elo imwe bantu, do you know that these same gays wear diapers ka? kaili their sphincter muscles become loose. i wonder how someone normal would honestly put their health at risk like this. lunatics !

    • We are too preoccupied with bread and butter issues, education, health, water and sanitation to be distracted by non-issues like the LGBTQ agenda. It’s a non-issue which will just take our eyes off the ball. The gender of a person is naturally-determined and csnnot be changed. My fellow citizens, we know the real issues. I hv yet to meet any Zambian losing his sleep over the LGBTQ agenda.

    • Are you not a fan of any EPL club? Do you know that the EPL has dedicated a few weeks to its support for the rights of gay people. See the gay flag being displayed in the stadiums before every game. Team captains also wear armbands in gay colours. This gay thing has come to stay but its up to you as an individual to say no to it.

    • Satan wants to get many people into hell with him! He has an agenda and HAZALUZA HAGAIN is with them. He will not succeed in Zambia.

  2. Fake report, in Saudi Arabia same sex will attract a death penalty. Most of the countries in the sub continent, the Middle and Far East don’t tolerate same sex so why pick on Africa? Same sex isn’t on Africa’s major problems, so you’re wasting your time.

    • The heading should have read, “Satan and demons still the most hostile creatures to man in the world! His agents too!”

  3. “The institute based its findings on interviews with LGBTQ activists.”

    That is why I do not believe that Malawi and Zambia come out at the top of the anti-homosexual league. Having read reports issue by CEDEP in Malawi, I believe that they exaggerate the situation simply to attract donor support. Media reports over the years say that Nigeria and Uganda are at the top of the league over a wide margin, but are not mentioned in this article.

  4. Homosexuality is a psychiatric condition and all those with feelings that even chickens or dogs do not portray is a sickness just as madness is a condition. Gays you have no place in Zambia, try Botswana a new member of the gay community

  5. But still the most docile in all other areas of development. The only thing they have mastered is stealing with impunity.

  6. This practice is done by lunatics and its them who understand it very well but for Zambia listen you jasson, gay,it as no place in Zambia no gay rights,no to homo, no lesbianism,no to incest take it some were else we don’t want it here we are Christians.

  7. To be gay is one thing but to be a practicing gay is another. Here in Zambia even to come out in the open that one is gay is hell. You cannot survive. Here gays are treated like misfits who have no place in society. The former secretary to the cabinet Dr. Sketchly Sacika said something about homosexuality the day before yesterday one of these private papers. It also appeared on social media and the backlash on social media my foot! People in this country are very homophobic! Eishhhhh…..what if you find out that your brother,sister,child or grandchild is gay? Then what? You condemn them to hell? Let’s not be too judgmental.

  8. What I know is that even if HH comes in power he will never allow same sex marriage because Zambians don’t believe in that even myself if I was told to choose between being gay and death I will choose death that’s how Zambians are so you can’t change that so anyone pushing for this is wasting time.

  9. 1)Most hostile countries for gays.
    2)High debt levels.
    3)poverty stricken – people survive on less $2 per day.
    4)High corruption levels.
    5)High dependence donor funds.
    JUST CUT OFF DONOR FUNDING

    • You must be a fool that has ever lived. Why do u want Zambia to add another problem. Currently we are swallowed in corruption and worst leadership ever since independence and you want us to start talking about nauseating issues. That anus is for faeces to come out not entering your dicks into intestines.
      Imwe mwe fimpuba imagine your parents were gays whre cud you ve been?
      If you think this may business is source of your wealthy you are wrong just work harder and earn riches you will enjoy freely.
      Who told you that Malawi n Zambia are on top? This clearly shows that you ve a very small head with infinitesimal brain. Go to Egypt, Tunisia!, Libya, Afghanistan and open that maggot mouth if you I’ll survive.
      Please leave us alone. If ECL said he would not sacrifice that for donor money…

    • “JUST CUT OFF DONOR FUNDING”

      What do you think ‘donor funding’ is about? You come here, drifting in from some kind of LGBT website I’m sure, and you think the West is going to give up control of Zambia’s financing by ending ‘donor aid’, forcing them to start taxing the mines whose profits they are stealing?

      By the way I’m not gay, and the only interest I could have in this issue is from a constitutional point of view.

  10. Sodomy hasn’t been our problem we don’t plan to make it our problem we have more pressing issues at hand you think Lusaka can tolerate such BS come to matero we will beat you half to death *****s misfits disgusting human beings

  11. The bible is clear on this issue…homosexuality is a serious sin in the eyes of GOD. Please repent as God is still willing to forgive such people

    • And Barclays EPL is clear on their support for gay rights that why, for the past few weeks, EPL teams captains wear bands of the gay flag.

  12. Normalising the abnormal is the worst kind of denial. It’s a dangerous precedence because it leads to a slippery slop situation, ie your homosexual countries will next target the normalisation of incest,bestiality etc. in the name of human and animal rights,who knows?

    On the other hand, we all should respect disabled people,especially homosexuals,people with gender dysphoria and others afflictions. There’s a difference between legalisation and normalisation. The legal debate is complex and should therefore be left to legal experts and theologians.

  13. Come on… Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and most of the Middle East can’t beat Africa.

    It’s more a defence against HIV/AIDS. Africa has the highest rate amongst other social diseases. Just this fact alone and the need to fight against practices that may increase the numbers again.

    The West have medicines and hospitals to support the group, but Africa does not and does not have an effective health system as it is. This development can’t be forced on Africa, if you think of all other aspects Africa needs to catch up with, this would be a quantum leap too far. The world can live together by accepting its differences.

  14. I remember my dear Scottish friend telling me many years ago, that when she lived in Croydon near a gay couple, one of them had to wear a nappy and stay at home. she was friendly with them, that how she came to found out about the nappy. good lord.

  15. Dear Zambian citizens, whether you like it or not there are Gay Zambians living in Zambia and a lot of married men secretly practice homosexual acts. Just go to some hot spots in Zambia and you will see GAY people by the way they talk and walk. So you can continue pretending Zambia does not allow homosexuals but the reality is you father, brother, son, uncle or work mate might be secretly gay.
    Do I support gay rights in Zambia? NO, because we are not ready as a society, but I do not believe homosexuality should be illegal. And for all homosexuals, there is a path out of Zambia and to a country like the UK if you think you are at risk in Zambia.

    • Supporting Gay rights should not be that we are not ready or we are ready, but we should know that this is a sin. thus y God destroyed Sodom. its not our duty to judge or crucify but we have a duty as pipo to teach the Godly good morals to the community and the country.

  16. If you read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 the Bible is very clear on this matter. Please in the name of God I beg you let’s stop this foolishness on homosexuality it’s not even worth it

  17. The biggest problem we have in Africa and Zambia in particular, is dependence. these so called human rights have destroyed our homes, values, norms, beliefs and culture. even without the bible some1 can still use common sense this gay thing is satanic and babalic. But because its from western countries they know where to pin African countries, “funding”. This is one of the sins which angered God and destroyed Sodom and yet pipo don’t seem to learn. remember human rights are not a passport to sinning, its our duty to correct these children who want to fall in this ditch, that the devil is real. let’s labor to teach our children our values and christian life. The Bible is very clear, God created a Man and Woman and God said go and multiply. now do you multiply with man to man…

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