Zimbabwe Constitution: Gays fear Mugabe’s animosity

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The drafting of Zimbabwe’s constitution, already faced with confrontations from interest groups, has seen the homosexual community calling for their rights to be included saying they are “vulnerable and marginalized minorities”

Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe, GALZ this week said most of their members in Zimbabwe live in fear and are driven underground. “The purpose of a Constitution is to protect vulnerable and marginalised minorities. Most gay and lesbian people in Zimbabwe live in fear and are driven underground. This is blatant discrimination against a group of people whose only difference from the majority is in who they are attracted to sexually”

GALZ also made an attempt to have in 1999 to have “their rights” included in the rejected draft constitution

President Robert Mugabe has been Africa’s fiercest and most persistent critic of homosexuality, which he has condemned as a Western import. He is on record described homosexuals as “worse than dogs”, although Zimbabwean law does not condemn homosexuality.

GALZ said the drafting of a new national Constitution must be a people-driven process. “However, although democracy is about the rule of the majority, the majority does not have unlimited power,” says GALZ, which is headed by Keith Goddard.

The organisation says its has close to 400 members throughout in Zimbabwe. “A democratic Constitution must incorporate various fundamental rights in order for it to be democratic and this includes the right to one’s sexual orientation whether this be homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual,” said GALZ.

Discrimination against gays and lesbians was unhealthy for society, they say. “There is need, therefore, to include specific mention of sexual orientation in Zimbabwe’s next Constitution and the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) appeals to all Zimbabweans including government and civic organisations to support this call,” said GALZ.

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