Salima — A selection of opinion leaders in Salima have opted for provision of HIV services and preventive measures to men who have sex with men and other sexual minority groups as a way of winning the fight against the spread of the HIV virus.
The position was taken last weekend during an opinion leader’s forum organized by the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP).
However, the group failed to agree on how to apply the measures in the presence of sections 153 and 156 of the penal code which criminalizes ‘unnatural practices and ‘public indecency’.
The forum comprised of Senior Chief Kalonga, Pastor Martin Saka of Anglican Church, representatives of political parties, a representative of commercial sex workers, the district Magistrate, and the Officer In-charge of Police, the District Health Officer and the District Aids Coordinator.
In his statement Senior Chief Kalonga said that he believes that there are indeed men who have sex with men and that the tendency is common in prisons.
"I know that there are men who have sex with men and most of these people are doing it in prison where they are starved from sex, but the problem is that they are doing it even after they are released back into the community where they are spreading the practice, "said the senior chief.
The Chief said that the practice is very unnatural and unacceptable by God, hence the need for the society to try and rehabilitate such persons.
"My opinion is that since these people exist, we should do everything possible to rehabilitate them so that the practice should not spread outside the prisons," said Kalonga.
Pastor Martin Saka of Anglican Church said that homosexuality is a sin and called for the need for section153 to be applied as a way of bringing sanity in the society.
‘They are doing what the bible speaks against so to stop such a thing from continuing further I feel the law should always be applied," said pastor Saka.
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