Activists: Zimbabwe media make up anti-gay stories

Did police in a suburb of the Zimbabwean city of Kadoma arrest a suspected gay couple on charges of sodomy?  Zimbabwe’s official newspaper, The Herald, reported it.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

But LGBT activists say that story was apparently an invention of the state-controlled media, which seems to be dreaming up controversial stories about gay people in order to legitimize political repression and persecution.

Activists say the fabrication of sensational anti-gay stories has been intensifying in recent months, Gay Star News reported.

The Herald report said “Ability Chatira Mpofu” and “Blessing Chauke” were arrested after police found that Chauke was “wearing female apparel including a skirt, wig and blouse.”  The article also said the two men were married.

But Gay Star News quoted Chesterfield Samba, director of the Association of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, or GALZ, as saying:

If “Chauke” was a trans-woman or gay guy we would know about him, and no one in Kadoma knows a person who goes by that name.

GALZ is aware of all trans individuals and their locations and most have relocated to South Africa.

Samba said the issue of marriage apparently was raised in “an attempt to support the state agenda on whipping up emotions around the issue. There is a deliberate attempt to bring out the issue of marriage so that the public may voice their disapproval and in turn supporting Zanu PF’s agenda on the draft constitution” — a draft that rejects same-sex marriage.

On the same day the two men were reportedly arrested, President Robert Mugabe  and his Zanu PF party alleged that the rival Movement for Democratic Change  party was trying to introduce provisions on gay marriage into the new constitution, as well as limiting Mugabe’s powers, Gay Star News said.   The website also reported:

GALZ said they have managed to disprove two stories which were reported last month by the state media, one allegedly of group sex and another of gay association run as a church which ‘recruited’ people into ‘homosexuality’ by promising them cash and gifts.

GALZ also reported that another story reported in June, of two buses loads of gays and lesbians who allegedly stormed family café goers was also proven by the association to be totally made up. …

Male homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and in 2006 the country’s government amended the law which now states that sodomy is any ‘act involving contact between two males that would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act’, thereby criminalizing even holding hands, hugging, or kissing.

For more information, see the full Gay Star News article, “Activists claim Zimbabwe media invent gay shock stories.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at


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