Zambian Gays Hold Meeting In Defiance Of Ban
Reuters, September 17, 1998
By Jowie Mwiinga
LUSAKA Zambian gays on Thursday defied a government ban on
homosexual activity to hold their first public meeting in the capital, witnesses said.
The meeting ended abruptly after tempers flared as some unruly people joined the
meeting to jeer the homosexual lobby.
Around 40 people including disinterested observers, such as journalists and
human rights activists attended the stormy session called by the Zambia Independent
Monitoring Team (ZIMT).
ZIMT is spearheading the fight for minority rights in this copper-mining southern
ZIMT leader Alfred Zulu was accused by rival non-governmental organisation (NGO)
leaders of "promoting evil" by encouraging the formation of the Lesbians, Gays
and Transgender Association (Legatra).
They are accused of compromising traditional Zambian values to appease Western donors,
many of whom are sympathetic towards homosexuality.
"While we believe that the rights of homosexuals should be protected, we oppose
the planned registration of Legatra. We do not wish to make the idea of homosexuality
attractive to our children," said Mike Zulu, spokesman for the National Organisation
for Civic Education.
"No donor or international organisation should shape our country, no matter what
aid they offer us."
Police said they had no prior knowledge of the meeting and were investigating.
Home affairs minister Peter Machungwa recently directed police to arrest people who
engaged in homsexual activity. Under Zambian law, homosexuality is punishable by up to 14
A debate on whether or not homosexuality should be a crime has dominated the headlines
since 25-year old Francis Chisambisha went public about his sexual preference.
Chisambishi was subsequently expelled from college for purportedly tainting its image.
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