- Southern Africa
- Sexuality - Governance
Zimbabwe: Morgan Tsvangirai condemns homosexuals in raw terms
Zimbabwe’s Premier Morgan Tsvangirai has joined veteran leader Mugabe in declaring that homosexuality has no place in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has in the past made frequent vitriolic attacks on homosexuality which he has described as foreign to African culture. He once described homosexuals as “worse than dogs and pigs” when they attempted to assert their rights and highlight widespread homophobia in the country.
The two rival leaders leader say the issue of "gay rights" was not even debatable. “I dont agree with the idea of a man breathing hard on the neck of another man while humping him. I totally dont agree with this," Tsvangirai said on Thursday.
It is not clear if this was the official MDC position or his personal views on the matter. Tsvangirai said women constituted 52 percent of the population and wondered why there should be same sex marriages.
Mugabe, who was addressing the International Women’s Day celebrations, said "I want to see how they will procreate. If they manage, then I will admit that I do not know".
“Three days ago, I heard that some people want us to discuss the issue of gays in the new constitution. How do we even begin to talk about it?" Mugabe said amid defeaning applause.
“Those who engage in homosexual behaviour are just crazy. It’s just madness. Insanity. We can’t do it or the dead will turn in their graves,” he said speaking largely in vernacular.
A reclusive gay community has existed in Zimbabwe since as early as 1986, but it was a quiet one that had not prompted any previous threat from the state.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) national chairman, Kucaca Phulu has said he has no problem with the inclusion of gay and lesbian rights in Zimbabwe’s new constitution.
Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, and some individuals have been prosecuted and convicted for their sexual orientation, including former president Canaan Sodindo Banana.
On the other hand, there are very active and very visible gay and lesbian organizations in Zimbabwe, the most prominent being the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ).
They have generated public debate on the issue of sexual orientation. Last year GALZ demanded that its rights be recognized and enshrined in the proposed Constitution currently being drafted.
Said Phulu, “I don’t have any problem with gay rights being included in the new constitution. They have rights like all other human beings. Even murderers have rights. I don’t think you would want murderers to be killed soon after arrests by the police. They have to be tried in the courts”.