After a Zambian judge caused outrage by sentencing a gay couple to 15 years in prison, the country’s president asked UK media “are you saying we are very primitive because we are frowning upon homosexuality?”
Same-sex relationships are banned in the landlocked African country of Zambia, where anti-homosexuality laws were introduced by the British during the colonial era.
The US ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote said he was “horrified” by the 15-year imprisonment of Japhet Chataba and Steven Samba for being gay.
Last week, a judge turned down the gay couple’s appeal and Foote urged the government to review the case and the country’s homosexuality laws.
When asked about the incident by Sky News reporter Alex Crawford, President of Zambia Edgar Lungu replied: “We are saying no to homosexuality, why should you be saying we are only going to be civilised if we allow it, are you saying we are very primitive because we are frowning upon homosexuality?
“Even animals do not do it so why should we be forced to do it? Because we want to be seen to be smart, to be seen to be civilised and advanced?”
In the African country where 96 percent of the population is Christian, President Lungu said he would prefer to stick to the principles of the Bible over accepting gay rights for monetary or diplomatic advantages.
He said: “If you want to be tying your aid to homosexuality… If that is how you will bring your aid then I am afraid the West can leave us alone in our poverty and we will continue scrounging and struggling and see how we can get going.”
President Lungu added that he believes homosexuals can be counselled and that he may look into softer punishments, but will not review the county’s laws on the matter.
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