A showbiz promoter, PR Girl Media, last week announced that it would be inviting South African TV presenter, radio personality, choreographer and Idols SA judge, Somizi Mhlongo, to grace what they are calling the Lusaka July show. But government told off the event planners that their guest would not be allowed to step foot in Zambia because he is gay.

In Zambia we do not condone gayism because this is a crime and inviting such people means we are slowly accepting this vice. We must guard against such foreign influences as they pose a risk of disturbing our social fiber as a Christian nation,” Minister of Religious Affairs Rev Godfridah Sumaili told a press conference last week.

“The young people that are coming up, when they see this man who is homosexual but he is also an artist they will say okay, but we are not going to compromise our shared values as a people. Therefore, as government we would not condone a situation where event managers are inviting people with questionable characters that might undermine the morals of the land that are espoused in our Republican Constitution.”

We are at loss to understand how Rev Sumaili can ban Somizi from ever visiting Zambia just because he is gay, even without him breaking any Zambian law. Let’s be clear that living with a ‘gay mind’ should not be considered an offence yet, until that gay gentleman whips it out to have canal knowledge of another human of the same sex, whilst here in Zambia.

It appears Reverend Sumaili is confusing laws in the Constitution and sins in the Bible. This is why she is showing acute spite for someone she considers a sinner, even if he has not broken any laws. In fact, we agree with Somizi that our self righteous minister is preaching love but exhibiting the opposite. If Rev Sumaili considers the South African TV star a sinner, what does the Bible teach us about how to treat sinners? Does it say we must chase them or bring them close and minister to them? We don’t understand.

We are further at loss to appreciate the minister’s stance because her statement is practically declaring Zambia a morally upright country where such things as gayism don’t exist. If that is what the minister thinks, then she is living in denial, just like many hypocritical Christians. To think that there is no Zambian who is gay living in this country is actually an insult on her own intelligence.

If we say the mere fact that you find a fellow man or woman sexually attractive is enough to attract a criminal charge, then police must go on and arrest everyone who admires another person’s property. All those who know how to drive must be arrested for car theft, even before they steal any vehicle. But does that make sense? No! This is because a sin and a crime don’t mean the same thing.

What we are saying is, the fact that Somizi knows how to be gay doesn’t mean he has committed the crime already, just like a person who knows how to drive can’t be arrested for attempting to steal that car.

For the umpteenth time, Rev Sumaili’s position on Somizi shows how much her ministry is a useless establishment which is only responsible for showing the world how foolish we are as a country. We know some Zambians of strong Christian faith applaud the minister for taking such positions. But it will just be a matter of time before they also see the foolishness that we are referring to.

What the minister must know is that the world is evolving and Zambia can’t afford to remain behind. There must be a way in which we can handle these moral issues without compromising our much-loved Christian values.

All of us in this country have come to love Ireland and the Irish people for the donor support they have been pouring into our government programmes for the past 40 years. Our education, health, and several other sectors have so much to thank Ireland for. The bilateral support we continue to receive from that country is overwhelming.

The question is, what will our government say if the Prime Minister of that country, Leo Varadkar, decides to visit Zambia to check how his taxpayers’ money is being spent in Zambia? Will we ban him from entering our country because he is openly gay or we will give him and his male partner a red carpet reception? What will Rev Sumaili say? That is the point when our foolishness will be shown to the outside world.

We must emphasize that we don’t think the minister is foolish, but her actions don’t make sense. We are not saying she is a useless person, but we think her ministry is irrelevant. We say this because in our view, there is no logic in Rev Sumaili blocking Somizi for fear that he may have a negative influence on the youths in Zambia. Doesn’t Rev Sumaili think it’s a little too late to stop the Somizi influence, given that the gay man has been doing his thing on TV since he shot to stardom in the Sarafina movie feature decades ago? Where does the minister think Zambians know Somizi from? Will you ban people from watching the gay man on TV too?

Stop wasting time on senseless things Honourable Minister. The least you could have done was to refer this matter to the Ministry of Home Affairs so that the police can take it up. If Somizi commits a crime, it is the police to deal with him. If he has any criminal record, it is the immigration to decide whether to deny him entry or not. There is no law in this country which says perceived sinners are not allowed to visit. We insist, a crime and a sin are two different things. If Somizi is a sinner, let Rev Sumaili be the one to cast the first stone because she is telling us that she is of no sin.