Wednesday, April 17, 2024

No reports of harsh punishment for gays under Hichilema

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No reports of harsh punishment for gays under President Hakainde Hichilema and United Party for National Development (UPND) leadership. Gay rights advocates will agree it is not enough to call it a progress on the issue.

Late 2019 two men were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by Zambia high court judge for engaging in same sex relationship. The punishment was too harsh to dodge criticism. Not only local gay rights advocates criticized the punishment, the international community did as well.

The United States Ambassador to Zambia then, Daniel Foote, criticized the punishment. He was expelled from the country for that.

Since then, no harsh punishment has been recorded, but that doesn’t mean LGBTQ+ individuals in Zambia are free. They are not because the law criminalizing homosexuality still exist.

Those interested in the issue definitely expected Senator Patty Murray and his team to discuss that with President Hakainde Hichilema during the recent visit to the country. It appears they did not discuss LGBTQ+ rights.

“This morning at State House, we held a meeting with the U.S. congressional delegation led by Senator Patty Murray. The other senators included; Senator Chris Coons from Delaware, Senator Gary Peters from Michigan, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada and Senator Peter Welch from Vermont.

During the meeting we discussed a wide range of issues including the friendship that Zambia shares with the United States. We briefed the delegation on how Zambia is repositioning its social, economic and political journey, with the national development plan as the blue print.

Other issues discussed included the drought, food security, and jobs for our women and youth. We also thanked them for the support in the recently concluded debt restructuring process. We shall continue to engage with partners for the betterment of our country. May God bless our country, Zambia. May God bless the United States of America.”

Hichilema posted on his Facebook page few minutes after hosting the U.S. Congressional delegation at State House in the capital Lusaka on March 26, 2024. The post doesn’t mention LGBTQ+ rights.

When he was in opposition Hichilema position on gay rights was not that clear. Many mistakenly thought he support gay rights. Today Hichilema position is very clear. He has repeatedly stated his administration is not ready for homosexuality.

The article on U.S Embassy in Zambia page talking about the very meeting does not clearly mention LGBTQ+ rights either. A paragraph that closely points to that says the delegation met with President Hakainde Hichilema and several Zambian government ministers to explore how the United States can support reforms to the business enabling environment to attract greater investment and better spur economic growth.

It continues by saying the government leaders discussed the decades-long U.S. support for the health and agriculture sectors and strategies for systematically expanding agricultural productivity and sustaining Zambia’s improvements in public health. And says they also emphasized the central roles of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms to accountable and responsive democratic governance.

The paragraph ends by saying separately, the delegation met with members of the private sector and civil society to discuss efforts to bolster Zambia’s economic growth and support for democratic governance. It mentions fundamental freedoms. Because individual rights fall under such freedoms, maybe LGBTQ+ rights were on the table.

The delegation was led by Senator Patty Murray of Washington. In a company was Senator Chris Coons from Delaware, Senator Gary Peters from Michigan, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada and Senator Peter Welch from Vermont. Was on a two-day visit to Zambia.

Late 2019 two men were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for engaging in same sex relationship. Since then, there have been no reports of harsh punishments in relation to homosexuality.

It is not enough to call that a progress on LGBTQ+ rights. It could be because of fear. The visiting U.S. Congressional delegation needed to engage Hichilema on the issue. The law can remain, the punishment needs to be looked at.

By Venus N Msyani

13 COMMENTS

  1. The writer of this article is laundering the truth, my interpretation of his writing is that this government can’t punish same sex couples found breaking the law with the prescribed punishment. The glaring fact is, you are trying appease the visiting delegation by insinuating that this government cannot whatsoever follow the deterrent precedent set by the previous government on gay law breakers.

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  2. Once they are consenting adults, gay people should be free to do what they want. Male or female.
    It is their human right.
    Just like it’s your right to be a so called Christian, it’s theirs to be whatever they want.
    Those of you being homophobic, does someone being gay interfere with your space?

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    • Crazy human rights. Since adults are consenting to slavery should slavery be legalized? Give us a better argument.

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    • Ben, do you know that anal sex can weaken your sphincter muscles and lean to fecal incontinence? Do you also know you can pick Ecoli bacteria found in the lower intestines from anal sex which can leaf to kidney problems? Do you also know that anal sex can lead to Hepatitis A infection that can be deadly? Do we not have enough transmittable diseases to add on even more through anal sex?

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  3. A man is born male. Nothing in between and nothing more or less. Just as a woman who birthes a daughter expects that girl to grow into a woman. With humans being awoke, it is possible to TRANSfer into, or mate with, any gender. Those that practice it consensually should continue with it but must know that it is currently ILLEGAL in Zambia. Venus’ article is probably a twisted call for change. Change is the only constant and nothing is impossible.

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  4. Ba author there’s is silent agreement over the issue of your subject. The government is afraid of officially acknowledging this because more than 90% of our people would not accept it. So as long as no queers are arrested, the USA will be happy and avoid discussing this in public

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  5. It was harsh to be sentenced to jail one year more than the statutory 14 years, though they stayed inside the four walls only briefly. The male-male couple, who were arrested on November 27, 2019, and had already received a presidential pardon by May 25, 2020 for AFRICA FREEDOM DAY gala, were so unfortunate. Is it right for the current GRZ to take a strong negative stance against LGB.., but still hope to show a lukewarm approach on offenders? Is the GRZ contemplating repealing Penal Code 155 or UPND wants a silent diplomacy on the subject? Let us know about it.

  6. ……..

    Don’t tell…….

    Don’t ask…….and…..

    Keep you gay displays private, and it will be OK……….

    • No. We need to resist, restrict, repress, reprove and arrest those conducting the reprehensible and repugnant lifestyle of homosexuality in our country. There is no room for equivocation. This is a zero negotiation or tolerance line

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  7. If the previous government had not borrowed and stolen so much money that they crippled Zambia’s sovereignty, it would be easier to condemn Hakainde on his tight rope walk on the issue of homosexuality. The thing that worries me the most is the love for Zambia, that these politicians from Western countries are suddenly manifesting. What is Hakainde offering these people? These are extremely powerful Americans who are coming to our country. We need to watch Hakainde and scrutinise him very carefully, lest we wake up one day and find out that foreigners are driving our people out of the lands still in our hands in Northern, Luapula, Northwestern, Copperbelt, to make way for white people and their companies, as Chipuba, Banda and Satan let them do in Central and Southern Provinces

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