Civic societies file petition to decriminalise homosexuality, seek clarification of what constitutes ‘order of nature’


Isaac Mwanza, a governance activist, has taken a bold step by filing a petition at the Constitutional Court of Zambia, urging the decriminalization of homosexuality in the country.

Mwanza, alongside the Zambian Civil Liberties Union (ZCLU), argued that Section 155(a)(c) of the Penal Code was discriminatory and infringes upon fundamental human rights, including dignity, privacy, and equality as enshrined in the Constitution.

Their petition contends that the language used in the section is vague and ambiguous, failing to provide clear guidelines on what constitutes “against the order of nature.”

Read more: Hichilema urges Zambians to reject gay, lesbian practices, calls for upholding of christian values (video)

This ambiguity, they argued, leads to unjust invasion of privacy for consenting adults engaged in same-sex relations, amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Moreover, Mwanza and the ZCLU pointed out that the provision is not gender-inclusive, criminalizing only male same-sex activity while excluding female same-sex relations.

This selective enforcement, they assert, perpetuates inequality and discrimination based on gender.

The petitioners are seeking a declaration from the Constitutional Court to clarify and amend Section 155(a) to ensure legal certainty and eliminate discrimination.

They propose either exempting consenting adults engaged in different sexual orientations from criminal liability under this provision or revising the law to provide a comprehensive list of sexual activities deemed acceptable under the “order of nature.”

This petition represents a crucial step towards fostering a more inclusive and equitable society in Zambia, where all individuals can live free from discrimination and enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms.

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