A shadowy Zanu PF youth group in Bulawayo has reportedly claimed responsibility for defacing the 20 litter bins donated to council by the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) last year.
The group, which declined to be identified, said they defaced the bins to protest council’s decision to accept the donation from the gays and lesbians pressure group.
Bulawayo residents last week woke up to find the bins, formerly painted pink with an SRC logo on them, now painted black with messages denouncing gay and lesbian relationships.
Initially the bins’ lids were painted yellow, but are now black while the SRC inscription has been covered in black paint.
Although Zanu PF youths claimed responsibility, party provincial youth chairperson Butholezwe Gatsi denied his members’ involvement.
“We are not involved. I think it is the residents who painted those bins out of anger,” he said.
But, a party insider said the youths “decided to stop this promotion of gay activities by the city council”.
“Placing those bins around the city with the inscription that they were donated by the SRC was a way by council of endorsing gay activities in the city. It is a well-known fact that Zanu PF — from the Presidency to the last person on the ground — is against gay activities in the country. We were not going to stand aside and watch council celebrating gay activities in the city.”
Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo yesterday scoffed at the vandalism of the bins.
“We do not have time to play, we have a sole mandate of running the city and will not be involved in politics. There are people who are not happy with how Bulawayo is progressing and developing. We have enemies of the city, people who do not want to see the city progressing,” Moyo said.
The bins caused an uproar among residents and politicians last year with some condemning the local authority for accepting them.
They were initially put on the streets, but mysteriously removed just before the Zanu PF annual conference last month, only to resurface two weeks ago.
President Robert Mugabe is on record as disparaging same-sex relationships, saying gays and lesbians were “worse than pigs and dogs”.