By CLAVER MUTINTA
LUSAKA City Council marriage registrar Henry Kapata has refused to marry some Zambian men who wished to enter holy matrimony with some foreign nationals over Easter.
Four Zambian men – students in tertiary institutions in Lusaka – had plans to marry old foreign men thwarted by the council in an unprecedented move.
The Zambians, who were playing the role of women, arrived at the Civic Centre clutching roses, although they were dressed normally – like ordinary men.
Mr Kapata, who doubles as the council public relations officer, confirmed the marriage attempt in Lusaka yesterday.
The four were among the 115 couples who lined up before the registrar of marriages at the Civic Centre on Saturday.
The couples are Ritch Henman, 64, and George Nsama, 26, Clive Reeves, 48, and Bruce Lianda, 22, Jones Macpherson, 36, and Sylvester Sichilima, 30, and Humphrey Ray, 53 and Caleb Muswema, 34.
“They were waiting on the queue and I didn’t know what they wanted until they entered my office. They were all men, dressed normally,” he said.
Mr Kapata said the ‘couples’ told him point-blank: “We have come here specifically to register our marriages.”
“I was shocked that such things can happen in Zambia. I told them that we don’t register gay marriages in Zambia. The Marriages Act Cap 50 of the Laws of Zambia and even the Constitution is very clear about that,” he said.
Mr Kapata said he told the couples to understand that gay marriage is not allowed and culprits risk being arrested.
He said at that point, the Zambian partners got incensed and used abusive language against him and threatened legal action.
“They blasted me. They told me that I cannot change what God has put together,” he said.
The foreign nationals threatened to sue Mr Kapata for preventing them from getting married to partners of their choice.
“The locals were not happy with my advice and used very bad language. Their ‘husbands’ told me that they would be engaging a lawyer to deal with me,” he said.
Mr Kapata told them that if they pursued the matter, they would be arrested because what they were seeking is against the laws of the land.
He said he intended to report the couples to the police but the workload of attending to other couples, who were registering genuine marriages, prevented him from doing so.
“Today [yesterday], I have been in the office waiting for them and their lawyers and they did not come. I am sure they are scared after I told them they would land themselves in trouble if they continued pushing to register their gay marriages,” he said.
Mr Kapata said the Zambian men came to know their ‘husbands’ through social media and all marriage arrangements were discussed and concluded through the same channel.
He said it would appear that the Zambians agreed to the gay marriages to get better university education abroad.
Mr Kapata said it is important for foreign nationals to understand the practices of the countries they are visiting.
He appealed to church organisations to be wary of gay couples who may approach them to register and bless their marriages.
Zambia Daily Mail