“It degrades human dignity. It’s unnatural, and there is no question ever of allowing these people to behave worse than dogs and pigs. If dogs and pigs do not do it, why must human beings? We have our own culture, and we must re-dedicate ourselves to our traditional values that make us human beings. … What we are being persuaded to accept is sub-animal behavior and we will never allow it here. If you see people parading themselves as Lesbians and Gays, arrest them and hand them over to the police!” That being said, you can see that being openly gay in Zimbabwe does not work well in ones interests. Homosexuality is not illegal, it is sodomy that is.
The issue of gays and lesbians has for a long time been a highly contentious issue in not only Zimbabwe but around the world. It is an area that has put many a world leader to the test in how they respond to the issue of their rights. Mugabe’s disgust towards homosexuality is a sentiment that is shared by many a Zimbabwean as well.
Gays and lesbians have for a time long been subjected to all forms of discrimination which has lead to them living their lifestyle under the radar. This is not to say that all homosexuals are living under the radar, there are some who are very much out there in the open and made their sexual orientation known to all. With the inclusive government and the new Constitution expected in the near future, gays and lesbians are becoming more vocal and demanding that their rights are recognized and made a part of the new Constitution. A lot of them are fighting hard to see that they are protected under the constitution. Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) www.galz.co.zw is at the forefront of seeing to it that there is constitutional equality.
GALZ Mission Statement
The principle objective of GALZ is to build a democratic and accountable organisation and to strive for the attainment of full, equal rights and the removal of all forms of discrimination in all aspects of life for gay men, lesbians and bisexual people in Zimbabwe and to inform, educate, counsel and support people in matters relative to their health and well being.
Sexual rights are human rights.
Mugabe’s fight against homosexuality was dealt a blow in the mid to late 90s when the 1st president of Zimbabwe, Canaan Sodindo Banana was convicted of sodomy. He was jailed for a year and died a few years later but was not buried at Heroes Acre with full honours as you would expect for a former head of state. This goes to show what happens to people convicted of sodomy regardless of who you are and what you have done for the nation.
Could the extreme homophobia be a result of Mugabe’s attitudes towards them influencing people to detest homosexuals or is it based on something that they themselves truly believe to be wrong? Many Zimbabweans are Christian and there are passages in the Bible that condemn homosexuality. These include Genesis 19, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Leviticus 20:13 –
“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
This is something that may drive them towards making the decisions they have made about homosexuality.
This “Satanic”, “Western Import” (not my words but those of Mugabe and his supporters) of homosexuality will continue to be a thorn in the side of Zimbabwean politics for a long time coming. Human rights groups see it as another violation in Zimbabwe and other see it as a moral issue that just shouldn’t be allowed. It may be one of those issues where there will never be a resolve that leaves both parties happy.
What will become of the gays and lesbians on Zimbabwe?