A group of men armed with guns, iron bars, and other blunt objects assaulted and injured some thirty-five attendees of a function organized by the Gays And Lesbians of Zimbabwe, a community volunteering group. According to GALZ’s account of the events, between 12 and 15 men stormed their way into the gathering in an orchestrated display of anti-LGBT violence, “demanding cash and gadgets from the members present in the hall whilst attacking them.”
GALZ is likening the attack to a “militia acting on someone’s superior orders to orchestrate violence,” and many signs point to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who is no friend of the gays. In a similar show of violence, the youth division of the Mugabe-aligned Zanu-PF party stormed GALZ’s offices in 2013.
“President Mugabe’s rhetoric has created a climate and culture of impunity and lawlessness,” GALZ intoned. “As evidenced by the actions of these thuggish men to hunt down LGBTI people in our communities, vicinities, and homes to inflict harm.”
Chad is likely to become the 37th African country to outlaw homosexuality after politicians voted in favor of a proposed law that would make same-sex relations a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, reports The Guardian.
According to Amnesty International, same-sex relations are illegal - and in some punishable by death - in 36 of Africa’s 54 countries.
Chad’s penal code does not explicitly mention homosexuality but the proposed amendment states the punishment for anyone who has sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex is 15 to 20 years in jail and a fine of 50,000-500,000 Central African francs (around $100-$1,000).
Government officials have said that the measure, which has yet to be ratified by President Idriss Déby, is intended to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society”.
The Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights called on Déby to strike down the proposed law:
“By criminalising homosexuality, Chad’s proposed penal code is an instrument of discrimination, not of justice. I urge president Déby and the Chadian parliament to reject any attempts to make prejudice the law of the land.”
Florent Geel, Africa director of the International Federation of Human Rights, said that although it is to be welcomed that the proposed bill would abolish the death penalty, this positive “is unfortunately marred by the criminalisation of homosexuality.”
According to Geel, while the reform of the penal code had been in preparation for 10 years, the question of homosexuality, while considered immoral, had never been an issue in Chad.
A number of countries in Africa have recently enacted severe anti-gay laws. Some observers believe this may be a response to the increased visibility and assertiveness of LGBT people in Africa. However, US evangelical Christians - chief among them Scott Lively - have been widely blamed for instigating draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda and other countries.
In January, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a bill criminalising same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights groups.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe regularly attacks LGBT people in speeches and recently said he resented - but continues to accept - western aid because it depends on conditions such as accepting homosexuality.
Although Uganda’s harsh anti-gay law was struck down by judges on a technicality, it is expected to be reintroduced by MPs.
Anti-gay Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has said that he prefers aid from China because aid from Western countries always comes with conditions such as accepting homosexuality, reports The Telegraph.
Speaking to a TV reporter during a trip to China, Mugabe praised Beijing for being "very constructive" in its assistance towards Zimbabwe:
"Whereas Europe and America, when they give little funding assistance to countries they always attach conditions. And that is our objection."
Mugabe, who nonetheless accepted international aid to the tune of $715 million in 2011 and has in the past threatened to jail and behead gay people, last railed against the ignominy of receiving aid from gay-loving countries back in March when he voiced his support for Uganda’s draconian anti-gay laws.
Watch a CCTV Africa report on Mugabe's recent visit to China, AFTER THE JUMP...
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe used a speech on Friday to speak out against gay rights and countries seeking to punish African nations who punish homosexuality, threatening to expel pro-gay diplomats.
"Some years ago, l was warned that there was some secret organisation of that nature which was addressing young men...to join them as homosexuals. This nonsense from Europe, keep their homosexual nonsense there and not cross over with it....We did not fight for this Zimbabwe so it can be a homosexual territory. We will never have that here and if there are any diplomats who will talk of any homosexuality, just tell me. We will kick them out of the country without any excuse. We won’t even listen."
Mugabe added that the world will never see homosexuality decriminalized in Zimbabwe:
"They even refuse today that if a man has sex with another man it’s wrong, its sodomy. If you pass a law that rejects homosexual marriages, ‘we will punish you’ like what they are doing to Uganda and us. And they say they want you to believe that if a man gets another man and they have a homosexual relationship, they have human rights to do so. If you pass a law that rejects homosexual marriages, ‘we will punish you’ like what they are doing to Uganda and us. And they say they want you to believe that if a man gets another man and they have a homosexual relationship, they have human rights to do so."
"What is wrong is wrong and cannot be right but they say no, human beings are free to marry each other, and look at the absurdity of it all, when God created the world, we leant from the Bible, He created animals, forests, lastly He created man. Because man was lonely, He got from the side of man, a rib and created a woman...that’s the start of society as we know it from the bible."
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has in the past threatened to jail and behead gays, only this month learned that they exist in his own country. Now, in a talk in Zimbabwe's capital, he's keeping his hate speech alive by referring to gays and lesbians as "inhuman."
“The West says we must accept there is change in the world, that gays have human rights,” he said during an event at a hotel in Harare, the country’s capital, that commemorated International Women’s Day as the Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper, reported. “Gays have no human rights. They have human rights – human rights for doing an inhuman thing.”
Jeffrey Smith of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights responded to the Blade:
“These comments are consistent with Mugabe’s past statements, describing gays as worse than ‘pigs and dogs.’ For Mugabe to declare gays and lesbians as somehow inhuman, on a day meant to celebrate equality, is horribly ironic and reprehensible.”
In other Mugabe news, the leader says he will boycott next week's European Union-Africa summit in Brussels after his wife was denied a visa to attend the event.