‘Evil’ gays are no closer to freedom in Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF  has described  homosexuality as "evil".

In its 108-page pre-election manifesto, Zanu-PF brags that it managed to block the evils of homosexuality by criminalising same-sex marriage in the new Constitution: "The party was vigilant throughout the constitution-making exercise to guard against treachery and to protect the process from being hijacked by foreign or regime change interests. More importantly … the constitution enshrines provisions … that not only guarantee that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again but which also protect the values and dignity of the people against evils such as homosexuality."

The manifesto argues that everyone must join "Team Zanu-PF": "Team Zanu-PF has something for everyone.

Zanu-PF understands that for the people's goals to be won and defended, everybody must be part of the great team that liberated Zimbabwe … [that] defended Zimbabwe's traditional and religious values against such evils as homosexuality."

Zanu-PF's language incites violence towards opposition party supporters as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, yet it says "peace begins with me, peace begins with you", and it says it advocates nonviolence, freedom and democracy.

Zanu-PF describes non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as threats to the nation because of their "nefarious activities". This makes NGOs, especially those working on human rights issues, a target of harassment, arrests and raids.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in its 36-page manifesto, promises to transform Zimbabwe into a "modern, healthy, happy, functional, integrated, democratic and prosperous society that takes pride in leaving no one behind", but the party is woolly on sexual minorities: "The MDC will work for people. All the people, regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnic affiliation or political party."

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe expressed its concern over the effects of hate speech and state-sponsored homophobia: "State authorities have an obligation to address violence, both to investigate and punish those who attack others, but also to prevent abuse in the first place. The Zimbabwe Republic Police routinely turn a blind eye to the abuse and violence of LGBTI individuals, thus contributing to the overwhelming sense of impunity." – Miles Rutendo Tanhira

Miles Rutendo Tanhira is a journalist, human rights defender, LGBTI rights activist, peace activist and feminist

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.


The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members
Advertising

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday