Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

‘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

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Related stories


Subscribers only

Seven years’ radio silence for taxpayer-funded Rhythm FM

Almost R50-million of taxpayers’ money has been invested but the station is yet to broadcast a single show

Q&A Sessions: Zanele Mbuyisa — For the love of people-centred...

She’s worked on one of the biggest class-action cases in South Africa and she’s taken on Uber: Zanele Mbuyisa speaks to Athandiwe Saba about advocating for the underrepresented, getting ‘old’ and transformation in the law fraternity

More top stories

ANC confirms it will oppose Magashule’s court application

The ruling party has briefed senior counsel Wim Trengove to head the team that will contest Magashule’s bid to fight his suspension and oust Ramaphosa instead

Magashule defies suspension order and KZN leaders’ advice that he...

A strategy by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC to control the narrative coming out of former president Zuma’s court appearance for arms deal corruption and fraud was thwarted

Landmark Deadly Air case: 10 000 deaths annually can be...

There is no legal mechanism in place to implement and enforce measures to prevent toxic air pollution in the Highveld

No masks. No Covid. But problems do abound

With no cases of Covid-19, a Zimbabwe informal settlement’s residents are more concerned about making ends meet – and their imminent eviction

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…