Stakeholders in Zambia have called for the arrest of the organizers of the first-ever gay parade held in Lusaka last Saturday. The protest, convened by Sistah Sistah Foundation Zambia, aimed to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Former Religious and National Guidance Minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili strongly condemned the protest and questioned why the police did not stop the protest when they discovered that it had diverted from the initial reasons stipulated in their application for a permit to protest. She urged the state to take action and ensure that such a situation does not repeat itself as it has the potential to contribute to the degeneration in the country’s moral fabric and cultural norms.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia also condemned the protest and called for the arrest of the organizers. EFZ Executive Director Bishop Andrew Mwenda stated that such acts are a violation of biblical teachings and an arbitrary disrespect of the rule of law. The police in Lusaka have summoned the organizers of the protest to ascertain why the event was turned into a forum for championing homosexuality when the conversation applied for a permit to hold a march-past within Lusaka district to raise awareness against women and girls’ sexual and gender-based violence.
However, human rights activist Brebner Changala views the protest as an indication of the government’s tolerance of the LGBTQ community. He expressed shock that the LGBTQ community could gather the courage to come out in the open without interference from law enforcement officers despite homosexuality being illegal in Zambia. Changala has challenged the government to come out in the open and state its true position on gay rights, unlike the current situation where its pronouncements on the matter do not seem to match with their actions.
Efforts to get a comment from Chief Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda on the matter failed as her mobile phone was switched off. The situation has caused a divide in the country, with some advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community, while others condemn their existence.