Zimbabwe: Mugabe seeks life in prison for homosexuals

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

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has resume his verbal attacks on LGBT people, promising that he will make the country a “hell” for gays and lesbians if his Zanu PF party wins the July 31 election.

He proposed life sentences for homosexual activity, saying that the current law, which provides for up to a year in jail, is too lenient.

He also advocated tougher laws for child rapists and pedophiles — categories that he wrong-headedly lumps in with LGBT people.

NewsDay Zimbabwe reported on Mugabe’s speech yesterday at the Roman Catholic Church-run Bondolfi Teachers’ College’s graduation ceremony, in which Mugabe said he regretted that homosexuality still exists in Zimbabwe:

We do not have a culture of men marrying men or women marrying women. We cannot accept it, no, no, no. These things are taboo in our society.

After the polls, we will strengthen the law and make it really punitive and bitterly punishable for such people. At the moment, they get something like three months’ imprisonment.

They should rot in jail.

In the Herald‘s account of the speech, Mugabe called for prison sentences for anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage. That article quoted him as saying:

In countries like Britain you have some cases where churches like the Anglican solemnise gay marriages, a culture where a man marries another man. … That will never, ever happen here. We will not allow homosexuality. Never.

Mugabe, who has often called LGBT people “worse than pigs and dogs,” praised the Roman Catholic Church for its opposition to homosexuality.

Gay Star News reported the response to Mugabe’s speeches from Chesterfield Samba, head of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ):

Chesterfield Samba, director of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe
Chesterfield Samba, director of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe

Mugabe continues with his vitriolic attacks on gays as part of a strategy to try and cordon off Zimbabwe from the rest of the world and deflect pressure from Zimbabweans for him to embrace pluralism, multi-party democracy and the promotion of human rights culture.

Zanu Pf’s instruments of intimidation and electioneering, which include the subject of gays, remains as strong as ever and is once again being used as a red herring for the real woes in this country around good governance.

His outbursts have done much to highlight the dictatorial tendencies of his regime and the difficulties facing LGBT people throughout Zimbabwe.

Politically populist and outrageous statements such as these are undoubtedly going to characterize the upcoming elections with consequences to the LGBTI Community in Zimbabwe.

Chesterfield Samba, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe, commented on the president’s anti-gay rant to GSN: ‘Mugabe continues with his vitriolic attacks on gays as part of a strategy to try and cordon off Zimbabwe from the rest of the world and deflect pressure from Zimbabweans for him to embrace pluralism, multi-party democracy and the promotion of human rights culture.

‘Zanu Pf’s instruments of intimidation and electioneering which include the subject of gays remains as strong as ever and is once again being used as a red herring for the real woes in this country around good governance.

‘His outbursts have done much to highlight the dictatorial tendencies of his regime and the difficulties facing LGBT people throughout Zimbabwe.

‘Politically populist and outrageous statements such as these are undoubtedly going to characterize the upcoming elections with consequences to the LGBTI Community in Zimbabwe.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/mugabe-promises-%E2%80%98hell-gays%E2%80%99-zimbabwe-if-he-wins170613#sthash.TfmIkMlI.dpuf

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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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