‘Gay rights activist trial should proceed’

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KasonkomonaTHE Lusaka High Court has ruled that trial should commence in the subordinate court in a matter in which gay rights activist Paul Kasonkomona is facing an offence of idle and disorderly conduct.
Kasonkomona, 38, is charged with one count of idle and disorderly conduct by soliciting for immoral purposes.
Particulars allege that Kasonkomona, of Chilulu Garden Township is on April 7, this year solicited for homosexual rights to be respected in Zambia during ‘The Assignment’ programme on Muvi Television.
Before commencement of trial, Kasonkomona had applied to have his case referred to the High Court for determination of Constitutional matters.
He had contended that the constitutionality of Section 178 (g) of the Penal Code was vague and violated Article 18 and 20 of the Constitution.
And Magistrate Lameck Ng’ambi in his ruling after the application stayed the proceedings and allowed the application of Article 18 and 20 in which the accused claimed that the section violated his fundamental rights.
But in her ruling yesterday, High Court Judge Anne Sharpe Phiri dismissed the application on grounds that there was no Constitutional issue raised concerning the contravention of fundamental rights.
Ms Justice Phiri said a review of the two relevant pieces of legislation showed that Section 178 (g) of the Penal Code referred to a person being ‘idle and disorderly’ by soliciting for immoral purposes whereas Article 20 of the Constitution referred to the fundamental freedoms of expression.
“I am of the considered view that the subject contained under section 178 (g) of the Penal Code was not the same as that contained in Article 20 of the Constitution. The two issues are different.
“I therefore find that there was no Constitutional issue concerning the contravention of fundamental rights of the accused and there was no ground for the magistrate to refer the case. I therefore send this file back to the magistrate to deal with the matter,” Ms Justice Phiri said.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I am no expert in the field of social sciences and law, but for some reason, I m forced to comment here. We all know that some of the laws do not take into cognisant the Human Rights notions and if they do, uphold so many international conventions on civil and social liberties cosmetically. The case in point is the Paul Kansokomona's. Surely, there is difference between advocating for the recognition of homosexuality, either in passing or in engaging the policy makers, regardless of what the law says about homosexuality. Just as we have advocated for increased spending on the girl child and the re-entry policy of the drop out pregnant girls, or the abolishment of capital punishment, this was done so in all kinds of media as debatable topical but controversial issues which hinged on equality and human welfare .

    So whats wrong with Paul advocating for the decriminalization of homosexuality? Why should our nation be held at ransom by some quarters of the clergy who purport to hold the keys to morality and moral standards? Let the debate on homosexuality continue, for it is not a vice but a true topical national issues that cuts across all sectors of the socitey, not to mention religion from which we derive this "hate-filled" craze about its existence in Zambia.

    Is it really an import? What about Christianity?

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