1. zambia-flag
    The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, neighbouring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, …
  2. Capital: Lusaka
  3. Currency: Zambian kwacha
  4. Population: 14.54 million (2013)
  5. Official language: English
  6. Government: Presidential system, Representative democracy, Republic

    Same-sex sexual activity is proscribed by Cap. 87, Sections 155 through 157 of Zambia’s penal code.[3]

    Section 155 (“Unnatural Offences”) classifies homosexual sex (in the vague description “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature”) as a felony punishable by imprisonment for 14 years.[3]

    Any person who- (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or … (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature; is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.

    Section 156 imposes imprisonment for seven years for any “attempt to commit unnatural offences”. Finally, Section 157 applies to “any act of gross indecency” committed between males, “whether in public or in private”, and classifies such acts as felonies punishable by imprisonment for five years. The provision also extends to “attempts to procure the commission of any such act [of gross indecency]”.[3]

    Any male person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male person, whether in public or private, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for five years.

    Although Zambia’s penal code contains no explicit reference to consensual sex between females, Cap. 87, Section 155 legally covers lesbianism.[1]

    However, like all former British East and Southern African colonies, Zambia enacted its constitution in the 1990s, overriding much of the pre-1964 criminal code, and there are very broad protections against discrimination, with much of the language lifted from the UN Charter on Human Rights. [10] It can be argued that homosexuality is constitutionally protected under Article 23 of the 1996 Constitution:

    23. [Protection from discrimination on the ground of race,etc.]

    (1) Subject to clauses (4), (5) and (7), no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

    (2) Subject to clauses (6), (7) and (8), no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.

    (3) In this Article the expression “discriminatory” mean, affording different treatment to different persons attributable, wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, sex, place of origin, marital status, political opinions colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.

    Considering that any constitution overrides all other laws, it is relevant that few if any prosecutions for homosexuality have taken place, which would allow the criminal code laws to be tested and, if found to contravene the Constitution, be struck from the books.

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