For the last six months, Zambia’s ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) used homosexuality as a wedge issue in the media to harm Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata in elections. The intense abuse of LGBTI persons in the Zambian media did not work and Michael Sata was sworn in as Zambia’s new president last week.
Michael Sata, leader of the Patriotic Front party has been sworn in as Zambian president at a ceremony in the grounds of the Supreme Court in Lusaka. Sata won a decisive electoral victory over former president, Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy.
In his inaugural address to the country, President Sata returned to the themes of his election campaign – a recommitment to the rule of law, and fighting poverty and corruption, and said he planned to make a difference in these areas within 90 days.
Sata also promised Zambians that to cut government expenditures he would reduce the size of government.
Sata, who is Zambia’s fifth president since the country declared independence from Britain in 1964, was accompanied by his predecessor, Banda and the country’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda. He was welcomed by thousands of slogan chanting party supporters who had travelled from across the country to witness the inauguration.
The victory by Sata and his Patriotic Front has ended two decades of rule by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy which came to power in the country’s first multiparty elections in 1991. Earlier former president Rupiah Banda addressed the nation to concede defeat and bid an emotional farewell.
From the AFP:
Jubilant opposition supporters celebrate in the streets of Lusaka after Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata is declared winner of Zambia’s presidential elections, ending 20 years of MMD rule. Announcement of the election result and people celebrating.
Michael Sata, Zambia’s new President, had allegedly told the Danish media that homosexuality is recognised in Zambian law. In July PF spokesperson Guy Scott said that the deluge of articles using Christianity to condemn Sata for his remarks had hurt the party.
In an open letter to the Law Association of Zambia, Maurice Makalu wrote to "condemn the outrageous hatred, prejudice and discrimination that have been displayed in the media from a cross section of the Zambian society against homosexuals." The post with Makalu’s statement contains a sample of the deluge of articles used to make homosexuality a wedge issue in the elections.
The most troubling aspect of President Rupiah Bwezani Banda’s time in office was his complete disregard for the separation of Church and State. Last year the State House website even published the anti-LGBTI views of Anglican Council presiding Bishop Robert Mumbi.
An August 2010 Pew Survey on Homosexuality, Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa revealed that 77% of Christians in Zambia support religiously based civil law.