Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu
Zambia’s LGBT community is likely to be concerned after vocally anti-gay politician Edgar Lungu was elected the country’s new president.
Lungu, who’s been a minister of various government departments, was voted into power during last week’s presidential elections that followed the death of President Michael Sata in October last year. He won by a narrow majority of just 27,757 votes.
During his presidential campaign, Lungu made clear his views on LGBT rights at a public rally in Mongu in December.
“We will not support homosexuality. I will not compromise human nature because of money. God made man and woman,” the 58-year-old lawyer stated.
While serving as minister of home affairs in 2013, Lunga famously dismissed any calls for the government to address the rights of LGBT people in Zambia.
He said at the time: “There will be no such discussion on gay rights. That issue is foreign to this country. Those advocating gay rights should go to hell. That is not an issue we will tolerate.”
Lunga had earlier told Zambia’s Daily Mail that the police should arrest anyone who tries to marry another person of the same sex, after four gay couples unsuccessfully attempted to marry at the Lusaka Civic Centre.
“It is a pity that foreigners have started bringing this thing to us now. We are on dangerous ground where people are bringing new things to us and we are watching. The police must do their work… same-sex marriages are not a normal thing,” he said.
Lungu was sworn in as president on Sunday at Lusaka’s National Heroes Stadium. He will complete the late president’s remaining 18 months term of office. Zambians will once again go to the polls to vote for their leader in late 2016.
Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, Those found guilty of consensual adult same-sex acts face a penalty of 14 years in prison. Attempts to have same-gender sex without being successful are punishable with a sentence of seven years jail time.
In July 2014, two men accused of homosexuality were acquitted by a Zambian court due to lack of evidence. They had spent more than a year in prison simply awaiting trial and had repeatedly been refused bail.