By Kapya Kaoma
President Hakainde Hichilema is slowly morphing into Donald Trump–one can hardly keep up with his lies. The statement that he never discussed the rights of “gays and lesbians” during his tour of the U.S. is another big lie–the Biden administration global foreign policy is unequivocally linked to the protection of gay rights. Didn’t the Zambian Embassy lie that Joe Biden canceled his meeting with President HH because of gay rights? Is Vice President Harris so foolish to ignore the diplomatic row between Zambia and the U.S. that led to the firing of ambassador Daniel Foote by the Trump administration? Besides, during her July 2014 visit to Zambia, Dr. Jill Biden, now the US. First Lady, personally lobbied for the release of the Kapiri-Mposhi gay couple. So how could the U.S. Vice President fail to raise the issue? Only victims of ballyvirus can believe the shameful lie. But for the PF to weaponize gay rights is like campaigning for 2011. If the PF wants to retain power in 2026, campaigning around gay rights will only distract from President Hichilema’s false economic promises, which are his biggest vulnerabilities.
It is unbelievable that of all the issues that welcomed President Hakainde Hichilema’s tour of the United States, the PF gifted him with the apolitical gay rights. Such a strategy was utter lunacy though not surprising. The PF ship is captainless and the once mighty Titanic is slowly sinking. I don’t know who is advising the PF, but the lack of political strategy suggests that it’s headed to the political museum of Zambian politics. It should look for new leadership beyond the current outdated and overspent empty tins–the current leadership will only kill the Party.
The PF just blew up its first major opportunity to test HH’s leadership following the debates on school fees in Parliament. Had it successfully organized peaceful demonstrations and boycotts of payments of school fees in its strongholds, for example, it would have kept its cadres politically engaged. In addition, this would have been the first wake up call to HH and an invitation to respect the PF if HH was to drive his agenda. Instead, it chose the inept route of gay rights–the lost cause in the August 12 elections. HH loves each day the PF spends talking about homosexuality–it distracts from his false promises! He knows his followers don’t care and will believe his lies. But one thing they cannot ignore is the belly–so talk about wallet issues–the economy!
Sadly, the PF seems lost in politics of 2011–homosexuality is no longer contested as a political issue. Many young people are not as invested in this issue as the current PF leadership. In 2021, the President didn’t promise to create “homosexuality jobs” for all graduates in Zambia, deploy all teachers and nurses in homosexuality schools and hospitals, reduce the cost of ubunga to 50 gay rights and fertilizer 250 homosexuality Kwacha. What makes Lubinda and the PF to think homosexuality would end his presidency? Gays don’t harm anyone, but poverty and unemployment do. Talking about homosexuality in 2021 as the way to reorganize the party is simply fatuous.
Democratic politics is about messaging and strategy. The PF lost the elections because it focused on matters that didn’t matter to young Zambians. Among the issues that matter to younger voters, homosexuality is likely not on the list. That’s why political strategists study exit polls–they tell politicians how people feel about issues. As for PF, Given Lubinda has started singing anti-gay rights hymns, as if a Cardinal. Go ahead, sinless Soul; thy holy heart gay rights offend. Add homosexuality! Then the Christian nation chorus. End with the declaration–but all these sacred PF treasured oracles to Bally worshipers profane. Didn’t Dora and Banda try it on Sata? Sata won. Didn’t Lungu, GBM, Kambwili, Rev. Sumaili and Prof. Luo tried it on HH? He won too! And when Bally and victims of his ballyvirus listened to Joe Biden, they smiled as he insulted our beautiful and admired democratic nation to dictatorial Sudan and civil war-infected Ethiopia. His demand for defending gay rights as human rights across the globe, just yesterday HH and his worshipers claim they never heard or talked about. Regardless, HH can endorse gay rights, and his followers will still support him.
It is time the PF cadres understood that the HH regime position on gay rights won’t be as overt as the Lungu administration. In fact, it would be more of words, but no arrests policy. The Book of Revelation 3:15-16 explains this policy better than I, “…neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” This is President HH’s “chameleon” gay policy. To donors, we respect gay rights, to Zambians, the Constitution is clear, we are a Christian Nation. But this attitude has implications on the credibility of the president to the outside world.
The PF must find a working strategy–politics has no permanent enemies, but common interests. HH wants to build his name as the respecter of human rights to European and US donors, so why shouldn’t the PF gain political capital by partnering with human rights groups and push President HH to honor gay rights as Biden said in that speech? This approach would fix Bally both locally and internationally. But it would also expose him to his worshipers.
If anything, President Hichilema is in the better position to champion this cause–he is still popular and he has 5 years before the next election. The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has already passed a resolution asking African nations to decriminalize homosexuality. Our neighbors Angola, Botswana, and Mozambique joined South Africa in decriminalizing homosexuality. Namibia is in the process of doing so. The World Council of Churches has already acknowledged and affirmed the human rights of homosexual persons. President HH does not need Parliament to decriminalize homosexuality–litigation as was the case in Botswana, could be another avenue. Should his administration refuse to appeal the court ruling, he could become the first Zambian President to accord all Zambians rights to live freely without discrimination. With 5 years to make his case, his legacy could be that of Nelson Mandela. This could be bad news to the PF if it hopes to regain Plot 1. Don’t ask for more than you’re able to swallow!
The good news is the PF can easily reclaim this legacy by thinking ahead of HH–advocate human rights for all Zambians. Opposition to gay rights is nothing but political baloney! People don’t eat homosexuality at all! Let all Zambians live peacefully–arrest corruption and poverty, not innocent persons whose crime is to born gay! Enough of this fatuity!