On a visit to Zambia in February 2012, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on African countries to stop treating LGBT people as less than human or as second class citizens. He explicitly asked Zambian lawmakers to stop discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation.
Zambia had just emerged from a heated election where politicians promoting anti-LGBT laws were defeated at the polls. But Ban’s words backfired and the speech fanned the anti-gay embers back into flame. Politicians and religious leaders rose up with anti-gay invective. The U.S. Christian Right-trained pastor and opposition leader Nevers Mumba challenged the newly elected Patriotic Front government to make clear its position on homosexuality. Member of Parliament Felix Mutati argued in the Lusaka Times that “the country must be allowed to be guided by biblical principles and the existing law against homosexuality…. Zambia is a Christian nation and Christianity is against homosexuality.” Elias Chipimo, Jr., the president of Zambia’s National Restoration Party, blamed Western countries and called on them to stop promoting homosexuality. “The insistence of foreign nations donating aid conditioned upon the active promotion of gay rights is nothing other than the battle for the soul of our nation and our way of life,” he said.1