Zimbabwean gay rights activists say they have been betrayed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on issues of gay rights, as a leader who has first hand experience of inhuman treatment.
This after Tsvangirai joined President Robert Mugabe to denounce homosexuals, while addressing the masses attending the International Women’s Day Celebration on 8 March at Chitungwiza.
Actvist, Miles Tanhira says that Tsvangirai’s statements came as a blow to many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people who cast their hopes on the Movement for Democratic Change leader.
“I am not aligned to any party myself, but I’m sure this was the greatest betrayal to my fellows who had hopes that the MDC was some kind of a party of people who know what it feels like to be oppressed, vilified, crucified and subjected to all forms of inhuman treatment’, Tanhira said.
She added “the effects of such statements and state sponsored homophobia cannot be overlooked, as they perpetuate violence against LGBT people and drive them further underground.”
Meanwhile Chesterfiel Samba has revealed that Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe has written a letter asking the MDC and Tsvangirai to clarify his statement and his position on gay rights issues.
“We are awaiting his response”, Samba said.
Currently Section 23 of the Zimbabwean Constitution grants among others, “protection from discrimination on the grounds of race,” but there is no mention of gender or sexual minorities.
As government sums up the constitution review process, the future looks bleak for homosexual people in Zimbabwe.
“It remains to be seen whether the platform will be created at a national level, to at least hear LGBT issues before dismissing them.”
Efforts to get a comment from MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa were unsuccessful.