Sunday, April 14, 2013

Zambian gay activist appears on TV, is arrested, and now government plans new antigay laws

Paul Kasonkomona, a well known gay activist, was arrested last Sunday directly after appearing on Zambia’s MUVI television channel,and was charged (after being held for three nights) with being 'idle and disorderly in a public place.'
     Following his arrest, Zambian Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili told Radio Phoenix’s Let The Talk program that the government would introduce stiffer laws to curb what he termed ‘gay-ism.’
     Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo confirmed the government’s plans.
     ‘We will not tolerate homosexuality in Zambia - in fact as government we will push for legislation to stiffen punishment,’ Kampyongo said.
     Kampyongo told the Times of Zambia that the government had met with religious groups including the Zambia Episcopal Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, the Council of Churches in Zambia, Seventh Day Adventists and the Islamic Council of Zambia to assure them of the government’s opposition to LGBT rights.
Zambia is officially a Christian nation, according to its 1996 constitution, and one of the world's poorest countries. The country's high birth rate and high number of AIDS deaths (overwhelming among heterosexuals) have contributed to a per capita annual income two thirds of levels prevalent at independence.

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