Authorities have arrested four people in Zambia after marching against gender-based violence – something local police says was “championing homosexuality.”

The four women arrested are all members of the Non-Government Organisation, the Sistah Sistah Foundation, which organised the event on the 4th of March at the Rugby Club in the Lusaka Showgrounds.

Accused of giving false information to public officers, Gladys Mwangala Monde, who is one of the co-founders of the Sistah Sistah Foundation, has also been charged with unlawful assembly, despite the event receiving prior police approval.


“Sexual/violence against womxn and girls has been so normalised [that] so many people are now desensitised to it. It just feels like another ‘too bad’ story,” said the foundation ahead of the march.

“But we march because this should never be the norm. We march to let the victims know we stand with and for them, that they deserve justice…”

Despite the event initially starting with no issues, Zambia Police Service later questioned the women asking them to explain why the march had become “a forum for championing homosexuality.”

The four were then charged and arrested.

“It has, however, come to the attention of the Zambia Police Service that during the said March past, conveners exhibited a different agenda from the one whose permit they sort for … The agenda seemed to have highlighted issues of LGBTQ (homosexuality),” Deputy Police Public Relations Officer Danny Mwale said in a statement.

Mwale added that “practising homosexuality is a crime punishable by law” and that the country “is a Christian nation and government does not champion homosexuality.”

Mwale also confirmed that the four would remain in police custody until they can appear in court. “Meanwhile, police have instituted investigations into the programmes and activities of Sistah Sistah Foundation,” he added.

Under Zambia’s colonial-era penal code, anyone convicted of same-sex sexual activity faces imprisonment with the possibility of a life sentence.