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The shocking statements said by and attributed to self-proclaimed ‘prophet’, Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) spokesperson Khulani Mamba, about how gay people cannot be leaders, are not only unfortunate but also career threatening, given his line of duty.

Notwithstanding his senseless disclaimer that he was not speaking as a police officer, his statements are nothing short of hate speech and could incite violence against minority groups in the country. If anything, such a stance from a whole police service’s mouth piece taints the image of an institution which should be seen to be protecting the rights of emaSwati of all religions, any sexual orientation, any gender, any educational background, any race and any social and economic class. If REPS authorities decide not to fire Mamba immediately for bringing the service’s good name into disrepute, and attracting unnecessary international and national scrutiny by defendants of human rights, he should be lectured on ‘vicarious liability’.  A police officer is someone with and without the uniform; in and off duty; and at all times.

Using religion, and Christianity in that matter, to preach hate as opposed to love; exclusion as opposed to tolerance; stone-casting as opposed to self-introspection; and judgement as opposed to praying for a spirit of discernment is tantamount to gross misrepresentation of what Christianity is. Christ preaches the gospel of love: loving one’s parents; loving one’s neighbour as loving oneself; and loving one another as Christ loved us. Self-styled modern preachers should be careful not to emulate Pharisees and scribes, who were so blinkered by law and were quick to play God (through judging other people). The Lord dined with all sorts of sinners, and neither did He treat them as outcasts nor ‘worse sinners’. He only rebukes people who do not accept His gospel.

Even Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:13-15) would be more bearable than those people/towns who do not accept the gospel of Christ. Using religion to discriminate against any people who we view as, or know to be different from us is being short-sighted in the first place. Are we, therefore, to discriminate against other biological and/or hereditary mutations? The left-handed people; people with albinism; cross-eyed people; among other minorities? What of divorcees, which the Mosaic Law demonizes? Classifying these people into the same group as murderers, robbers; etc is not only irrational but also at variance with Christ’s teachings. Anyway, for while we (all of us) were sinners, Christ died for us (all of us; underline all).

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