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Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Denounces Homosexuality

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who said in October 2011 that he wanted gays protected in a new constitution, is apparently not feeling that way anymore:

TsvangiraiPrime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made a sudden U-turn and denounced homosexuality during a meeting in Harare last night. Addressing MDC-T supporters at Glen View New Hall, Prime Minister Tsvangirai denounced homosexuality and said marriages should be between a man and a woman.

“In the draft Constitution, we said marriage is between a man and a woman and those who want to marry another from the same sex, then they have a problem. Why do you want to sleep with another man?”

Here's what Tsvangirai said in 2011:

"It's a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody."

Tsvanfirai received backlash for his remarks, but later stood his ground, saying he refused to throw stones:

“I want to put finality and closure to an issue that has been misinterpreted, the issue of the so-called gay rights. My beliefs on this issue are a matter of public record. My beliefs manifest themselves in my practice. I am a Christian associated with the Methodist church. I am a father. I am a grandfather. I am a family man. I am a Zimbabwean and I know the strong feelings of Zimbabweans about this issue. I have those strong feelings too but in the end, Zimbabweans are making their own Constitution and it is that Constitution which will bind every Zimbabwean. What I refuse to do as a loyal son of God and as a social democrat is to persecute, to judge, to condemn and to vilify people for their own opinions because judgment is a preserve of God the Almighty. The Book of Luke Chapter 6 verse 37: “Do not judge and you will not be judged, do not condemn and you will not be condemned. The Book of John Chapter 8 verse 7: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone… So while I may differ with them, as a Christian and as a social democrat, I refuse to throw a stone at them."


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U.S. 'Stands In Solidarity' With LGBT People In Zimbabwe

MugabeThe U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe wasted no time last week in coming out against the arrest and detention of 44 LGBT activists there. Now the United States' State Department has released a condemnation of its own:

The United States condemns the Government of Zimbabwe’s violent arrest and detention of 44 members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe on August 11 and a second raid by police on August 20.  Several of these members sustained serious medical injuries from the attacks and were detained without charges. The Government of Zimbabwe has also targeted these same members’ homes and singled out their families for interrogation and harassment. 

The United States stands in solidarity with Zimbabwe’s civil society, including LGBT activists.  We are deeply concerned when security forces become an instrument of political violence used against citizens exercising their democratic rights.  We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to end this pattern of abuse and to eradicate the culture of impunity that allows members of the security sector to continue to violate the rights of the Zimbabwean people.

Unfortunately, Zimbabwe most likely won't clean up its act until after long-ruling President Robert Mugabe is out of office, and even then it is most likely he'll install a loyalist who abides by his hateful politics.


EU, USA Condemn Arrest Of Gay Activists By Zimbabwean Police

Andy reported Tuesday on the police attack on and subsequent arrest of 44 gay activists in Harare, Zimbabwe, who were meeting peaceably to discuss past infringements of their rights by police. The activists were members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, or GALZ:

“Four police officers attempted to gain entry into the premises before calling for back up where about fifteen (anti) riot squad members descended on the office and effected arrest. Thirty one men and thirteen women members were detained overnight at Harare Central Police Station on 11 August 2012.”

Galz claimed that some of the police officers appeared drunk and assaulted most of the members using baton sticks.

“Police, some of them visibly drunk, assaulted most of the members using baton sticks, open hands and clenched fists before detaining them without charge. Such use of force is in direct contradiction to the Global Political Agreement,” Galz said.

Now, Zimeye reports that both the American embassy and the diplomatic delegation from the European Union have condemned the assault:

Robert-Mugabe-007“The targeting and abusive treatment of non-governmental groups by members of the police is deeply disturbing part of life in Zimbabwe,” the US Embassy in Harare said.

“Too often, the Zimbabwe Republic Police becomes an instrument of political violence for use against citizens exercising their democratic rights, rather than maintaining its proper role of the people’s protector and guardian of law and order.”

The EU welcomes President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s recent public calls for peace and for people to avoid resorting to violence. We encourage all Zimbabweans to join these unambiguous calls against violence and violations of human rights.

Zimbabwean president-for-life Robert Mugabe has famously declared that gays and lesbians are "worse than dogs and pigs." He's also insisted that homosexuality violates womens' rights and leads to the eventual extinction of the species, and he once jailed a fellow politician for suggesting he, Mugabe, might be gay.


Zimbabwe Police Arrest 44 Gay Activists in Raid

Police in Harare, Zimbabwe raided the headquarters of the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), arresting 44 over the weekend, the group reports:

Mugabe“Galz deplores the arrest of its 44 members who had attended the launch of the Galz Violations Report and a briefing on the second draft of the Zimbabwe constitution on 11 August 2012 at the Galz offices,” Galz said in a statement. “Four police officers attempted to gain entry into the premises before calling for back up where about fifteen (anti) riot squad members descended on the office and effected arrest. Thirty one men and thirteen women members were detained overnight at Harare Central Police Station on 11 August 2012.”

Galz claimed that some of the police officers appeared drunk and assaulted most of the members using baton sticks.

“Police, some of them visibly drunk, assaulted most of the members using baton sticks, open hands and clenched fists before detaining them without charge. Such use of force is in direct contradiction to the Global Political Agreement,” Galz said. The organisation added: “Galz does not condone violence and we are not a threat. Those who cause violence are a threat to public safety and security and we ask that they stay away from our premises.”

Chief Inspector James Sabau said the claims of arrestes are false: “They were only taken for screening. We had received information that people we were looking for were there. So it’s false to say they were arrested and that they slept in the cells.”


Two Zimbabweans Arrested Over 'Lurid' Gay Pictures

ZimMapTwo Zimbabwean men have been arrested after a third party discovered pictures of them "embracing" in bed.

According to New Zimbabwe, one of the men, known only as Andrew, left his phone to charge with employees he knew at a local mobile phone store. One of those employees went through the phone's pictures and found images indicating Andrew and another man from the neighborhood were in a gay relationship. He then called the police, who have confirmed the arrest.

"I can confirm that we have arrested two men who are assisting officers with their investigations following the discovery of a set of images of a sexual nature. No charges have been brought at present," said a police spokesman. The men are still being held.

Not only is homosexuality illegal in Zimbabwe, it's considered an abomination by most of the population and President Robert Mugabe has made a habit of lambasting gay people, whom he likens to "filth."

Same-sex love is so disdained there, in fact, that people who heard about the pictures prior to the arrest gathered around Andrew and his alleged lover and wanted to "mete out instant justice," according to one witness.

As for Andrew, he claimed he and his friend had gotten drunk and "ended up behaving strangely," but that they're not in a relationship.


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