Gays, lesbians angry with Mugabe

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The Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz) are angry with President Robert Mugabe’s outburst against gays and accused the ageing leader of violating their rights and the Global Political Agreement by “fostering antipathy and intolerance” of its members.

Addressing mourners during the burial of Central Intelligence Organisation’s deputy director-general, Menard Livingstone Muzariri on Thursday, President Mugabe described gays and lesbians as filthy and said Britain, where homosexuality was not a crime, could name itself “British Gaydom” if it so wished.

In a statement, Galz said the President’s attack was “nothing new” and only served to reinforce the organisation’s calls for constitutional protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex people “that have been met with State-sponsored homophobia of alarming levels”.

The organisation said the Government should reflect on human rights and implement measures which proactively encouraged a culture of meaningful human rights protection.

“Statements by the President are a contradiction of article VII of the Global Political Agreement in which the President pledges to promote equality, national healing, cohesion and unity. The President should strive to ‘create an environment of tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and that all citizens are treated with dignity and decency’,” said Galz.

“The President needs to provide leadership in overcoming Zimbabwe’s challenges in areas such as violence, unemployment, education and health rather than fostering antipathy and intolerance.”

President Mugabe said homosexuality was unnatural, dirty and unacceptable. In Zimbabwe, he said, homosexuals were regarded as mentally challenged people who needed help and that if they were not mentally challenged and did so knowingly and voluntarily, they would be punished.

“About the unnatural things happening there (in Britain), where they turn man to man and woman to woman, we say, well, it’s their country. If they want to call their country British Gaydom, it’s up to them. That’s not our culture. We condemn that filth,” said President Mugabe.

President Mugabe has been a very vocal opponent of homosexuality, a practice which is generally frowned upon by a large section of Zimbabweans most of whom are either Christians or traditionalists.