In Zambia there’s a law prohibiting “homosexual behaviour” and on those grounds two gay men were arrested in April this year after the sister to one of them caught them ‘in the act’. They were later released on bond but after the sister caught them again they were locked up so not to repeat their “crime”. It was a culmination of what was going on in the country at the time. A gay rights activist, Paul Kasonkomona, had earlier in the same month been detained for “inciting the public to take part in indecent activities” and Zambias then home affairs minister Edgar Lungu had called upon all citizens to report anyone engaging in “homosexual behaviour” to the police. I blogged about gay rights back then here, and earlier here. Media and politicians alike then quickly went quiet on the issue, most likely hoping the gay rights issue would die quietly. Or as our Vice President Guy Scott said in an interview “let sleeping dogs lie”. The two gay men have been kept in custody from the 6th of May, their court hearing started on the 12th of September. Last week Amnesty Intl called for their release and questioned the very humiliating “tests” conducted on the two after their arrests. As the Mail&Guardian writes the two men are now facing two counts each of committing offences “against the order of nature”.
I find it sad that people can be locked up for simply wanting to live a life differently from the majority. These two Zambian men love each other and are not hurting anyone by the way they live. It is simply the fear of the unknown, pressure from society at large and churches preaching hate that is creating this situation where a small part of population is being discriminated. Hopefully one day gay people won’t have to live in fear of arrest even in Zambia and people will come to realize that we are all human beings. I have hope that it is the direction we are moving in, not only in the west by so too in Africa. I have argued my case in previous posts on this issue and my standpoint is simple – nobody should be locked up for love!