Whats the problem?
The criminalization of homosexuality in Zambia engenders ambivalent feelings in leftist organizations in the western world. Quite recently, the United States ambassador to Zambia, Daniel L. Foote, criticized the Zambian government for allowing anti-homosexual laws to reign in the country while rampant government corruption went unattended to. You can follow the story up on https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/12/26/us-ambassador-zambia-defended-jailed-gay-couple-that-was-just-beginning/ or
The criticism was brought forth because of a High Court ruling which imprisoned a gay couple to 15 years. While, I agree with ambassador Foote and the American people that there’s something inherently wrong with funding the Zambian government with millions of dollars each year only to be wasted through corruption, my position, however, differs on the Laws of the Country relating to gay rights. I always say that the Laws of a country are subject to the people it governs. If a law is oppressive, chances are that it will ultimately meet a timely end. But if not, it will continue to serve the purpose to which it was made. For example, slavery laws were known to be oppressive and eventually died out in the 19th century. Therefore, what makes a good law is not only the support it receives from the state, but more so, from the people it governs as well. Coming to anti-homosexual laws in Zambia, we observe that the mass of Zambian society finds the act of homosexuality to be utterly unnatural. Out of all the 72 tribes present in the Country, there’s not one that endorses or supports homosexuality as a matter of public policy. To put icing on the cake, Zambia is a Christian nation which upholds Christian values. So, you can see this combination strongly at work in its laws. What is hard for the average Zambian to grasp is how a country could claim to be Christian and at the same time support unchristian practices. It looks to be a paradox in his mind. To top it off, the bible’s stance on homosexuality is quite clear. In Romans 1:26-27 it says
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their errorNew International Version (N.I.V) Bible
So, therefore, it’s easy for us to see how the legislature could come up with section 158 of the Penal Code Act of Zambia which reads,
158. (1) Any male who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with a male child or person, or procures a male child or person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male child or person, whether in public or private, commits a felony and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and not exceeding fourteen years.
(2) Any female who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with a female child or person, or procures a female child or person to commit any act of gross indecency with her, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any female person with himself or with another female child or person, whether in public or private, commits a felony and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and not exceeding fourteen years.
(3) A child who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another child of the same sex or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any person with the child’s self or with another child or person of the same sex, whether in public or private, commits an offence and is liable, to such community service or counseling as the court may determine in the best interests of the child.
The preamble of the Zambian constitution also states that,
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA:
ACKNOWLEDGE the supremacy of God Almighty;
DECLARE the Republic a Christian Nation while upholding a
person’s right to freedom of conscience, belief or religion”Preamble of the Zambian Constitution
So, just as I explained previously, the Laws of a Country are always subject to its people. If the people of Zambia’s Christian beliefs are against homosexuality, I think its best to respect them as they stand.
The situation in Zambia is very much similar to that in the Bahamas. The Bahamian Constitution declares in its preamble that the country should have “an abiding respect for Christian values and the rule of law.” However, in recent years, the Bahamas has given in into western pressure and has set itself on a lengthy campaign for support of gay rights in its laws. Some Christian citizens in the small island, like the late prominent preacher, Dr. Myles Munroe, were in strong opposition with the move…as the video below shows.
In my recent research on the subject, I have heard some advocates for gay rights compare their struggle to that of slavery; somehow comparing their plight with that of the horrors of slavery. My opinion is that I think that notion is quite deceptive. Slavery was discriminatory because it judged a person based on what he was born with, that is, the color of his skin. Which he really had no choice over. Homosexuality on the other hand, is not something someone is born with, but rather, something that they choose to be voluntarily. If we could say that people are born homosexual, then it would make sense to assert that anti-homosexual laws in Zambia are oppressive. But as the state of things are, no one can prove that they were born homosexual.
So, in conclusion, anti- homosexual laws in Zambia exist to protect national identity through the enforcement of Christian values. I hope this little ‘treatise’ makes some viable sense to some foreigners who might’ve been wondering as to why the arm of the Law in Zambia is so heavy against homosexuals. As Vigilante Scholars, our views are dependent on the culture we were raised in. I understand that very well. But, however, when it comes to law making and procedure, I don’t think there’s a universal solution for us all. We must all stick to what our cultures teach to properly make a law that will serve a particular society in question. There’s no doubt in Zambia that anti-homosexual laws serve their purpose to validate national identity and to some degree, national unity. Therefore, it should suffice to say that such laws will continue to be a part of the nation’s cultural fabric and values.