Zambia: Why I disagree with Rev. Sumaili’s fight against gay artist Somizi

Rev. Kapya Kaoma is a scholar, Anglican pastor, and human rights activist

Rev Sumaili’s opposition to, and Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo’s justification of the baring of South African gay television personality and artist Somizi Buyani Mhlongo from performing in Zambia hurts our nation’s democratic intergrity. The government wrongly characterizes Somizi as a person “with questionable character” whose visit would “compromise or dilute the country’s morality and integrity;” forcing me to ask, “Which morality; which integrity?”

We all know that Zambia is led by corrupt politicians. Am I the only person to ask why questionable characters like Robert Mugabe, Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni, Joseph Kabila, Mnangagwa–the list is endless — are in bed with our President? Why don’t we hear calls for integrity when such murderous criminals dine at Plot 1?

The Rev. Sumaili and Kasolo claim that our constitution is based on Christian values–it is a lie and here is why. Some Christians consider premarital sex, divorce, drinking beers, smoking and even plural marriages immoral, but these activities are not illegal under our Constitution. We are not the Church which is guided by religious authorities and doctrines, but a secular state guided by a secular Constitution. …

It is time we accepted that politicians have used the myth of “Christian nation” and homosexuality to distract us from confronting corruption and lack of rule of law. Somizi’s sexual orientation does not put food on the plates of starving millions. Somizi does not raid public coffers, but Rev. Sumaili’s and Kasolo’s friends do. It is not the gay person who kills, beats and locks up political opponents, Rev. Sumaili’s and Kasolo’s friends do. It is not homosexuals who abuse their offices, MPs, Ministers, and Permanent Secretaries do.

So why are PF politicians obsessed with homosexuality? In their complex minds, stopping homosexuals from entering Zambia is key to economic well being. And they know it–we, Zambians are happy to demean or even kill a gay person, rather than hold our politicians accountable for corruption, political violence, and lack of rule of law.

In a democratic polity, the Rev. Sumaili and Kasolo are entitled to their views on “gayism” (whatever it means), but so are those who would love to see Somizi on stage. Is the government suggesting that self-identified homosexuals cannot live or do business in Zambia? How about gay soccer players, gay priests and gay ambassadors? Would Rev. Sumaili and Kasolo stop an openly gay Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Prime Minister from visiting Zambia? Well, Pope Francis, and even the immoral and gay-hating Trump administration, have had audiences with the gay Prime Minister. Read more via Lusaka Times