Southern African Litigation Centre, OSISA demand release of Kasonkomona

Paul Kasonkomona

Johannesburg, 10 April 2013 – The Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) have expressed their deep concern at the unlawful arrest and continued detention of Zambian HIV and human rights activist Paul Kasonkomona and called upon the police to release him from custody with immediate effect.

Kasonkomona was picked up by the police on Sunday at the gates of Muvi TV, a private television broadcaster, after he had appeared on a programme to debate the issue of same-sex marriages in Zambia. During the programme, Kasonkomona spoke out openly in favour of gay rights.

The police officers who arrested Kasonkomona were reportedly acting on the orders of the Acting President and Home Affairs Minister, Edgar Lungu, who is notorious for his strident public opposition to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals.

“The unlawful arrest and detention of Paul Kasonkomona is a blatant attempt to silence anyone who promotes the human rights of sexual minorities in Zambia,” said Anneke Meerkotter, lawyer at SALC. “It is also an alarming attack on the right of all Zambians to exercise their right to the freedom of expression.”

In addition, Kasonkomona has still not been brought before court.

“It is unlawful for the police to detain Paul for more than 48 hours without taking him before a magistrate,” said Chivuli Riva Ukwimi, OSISA’s Marginalised Populations Coordinator. “This is clearly a politically-motivated violation of his most basic rights.”

Kasonkomona has been charged under section 178(g) of the Zambian Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, for soliciting in a public place for an immoral purpose. This idle and disorderly person offence was included in the English Vagrancy Act in 1898 and repealed in England in 1956. The specific offence was never intended to curb free speech on contentious issues of interest to the public. It is outrageous that someone charged with such a minor offence has had to spent three nights in custody.

“Zambia should have repealed this repressive colonial-era law many years ago,” said Meerkotter. “Instead, the police are continuing to use it to arrest and detain people even though the charges are completely unrelated to their acts.”

The arrest of Kasonkomona comes barely a week after civil society organisations in Zambia called on the government to reform laws that inhibit the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

“We urge Zambian police to withdrawn the spurious charge against Paul Kasonkomona and to release him from custody with immediate effect,” said Meerkotter.

Mulongoti would have done well joining other parties-Chituwo
Litunga living in fear of his own people, guarded by security forces

93 Responses to "Southern African Litigation Centre, OSISA demand release of Kasonkomona"

  1. kangwa   April 11, 2013 at 19:00

    the bible doesnt allow homosexuality in all manner of sort why should we have this stupid foolish ignorant useless man feature on national tv that is total crap to educate our children to express themselves in foolish ways of being gay and feel happy about it just hung this man so he saves as an example to our beloved zambian nation he actually doesnt have fear for for God at all i wish such people burn on earth coz hell might delay.

  2. Racheal chiwele Ngongongla   April 11, 2013 at 10:51

    we are all sinners no one is perfect in the eyes of God.

  3. profet   April 11, 2013 at 10:01


  4. dexter   April 11, 2013 at 08:40

    but some pipo are idiots who said Paul is gay he jst spoke on gay’s why the hell should he be punished like he wnt on Natiional television to annouonce he is gay n he wanted to seduce the person interviewing him.SOME OF YOU ARE JUST COMENTING FOR THE MASSES.
    The pipo you interact with every day,the woman/man from the shop you get your groceries from,the Dj you love to listen to,that musician that you praise,that young man that helps you every time you need help…the might be gay/lesbian.just coz we dnt knw what you do in the dark doesnt mean you are holier than thou.Chritian nationn yes but we are sinners and we will perish.Love the sinners hate the sin.

  5. kaya   April 11, 2013 at 07:34

    What is a family? Father Mother and children. Atleast thats what we were taught at school. So now you want to change it to father father children or mother mother children? Where will those children come from? I know a few gay chaps around. They try to be descrete. The problem comes in when you go public…and you even start campaiging like this Kasonkomona chap. Clearly homosexuality is illegal in this country. The vast majority dont support or even want to hear about it.

  6. Blackwater   April 11, 2013 at 07:33

    And this is how we as a country should have been fighting poverty in the same way we are fighting Kasonkomona. All united for the elimination of homosexuality and gayism. By now poverty would have long been conquered. Alas we have been divided on tribal lines and the fight has long been lost.

    And iam happy to be there when the people fight against homosexuality.

  7. Blackwater   April 11, 2013 at 07:22

    Next time we hear he is on any TV station in Zambia, Blackwater and team will ensure that such a radio or TV station catches fire and all that will remain are ashes. All TV station owners giving national polluters a chance to mess up our children are therefore warned in advance.

    Let this quack from South Africa offer such stupid characters asylum so that the whole of that nation is polluted. We would rather remain poor and morally upright than have all the blight lights and morally bankrupt.

  8. grumy geoffrey   April 10, 2013 at 23:11

    The chap knows what is what. Activities of the stomach. Now he will have legitimate ability to seek asylum in any western country. That has always been his plan.

  9. Simba   April 10, 2013 at 21:46

    Where else would such demands come from if not south africa? And by the way someone said paul is being unlawfuly detained and yet also mentions section 178(g) of the penal code under which he has been charged,meaning the law is there. Now whether the law is archaic or oppressive is clearly another issue all together. Clearly the majority of us zambians are against it,maybe these guys supporting him should as well offer him asylum

  10. Mpongwe   April 10, 2013 at 19:01

    Paul Kasonkomona should be charged and caged. If some people are funding him, too bad for such people. For a change I totally support beerman Lungu and tell the lawyer for Kasonkomona that this is not SOWETO but Zambia. Keep your rights in South Africa

  11. agrees   April 10, 2013 at 16:13

    just keep him locked this is zambia not the west

  12. Tweet   April 10, 2013 at 15:53


    • dexter   April 11, 2013 at 08:46

      You idiot who are you to ask anyone to take one’s life ata!!

  13. Hoboluhobolus   April 10, 2013 at 15:42

    This one should not be released.