Human Rights NGO Riled By Anti-Gay Statements

“The statements which make reference to attempts to include gay rights in the new constititution undermine public tolerance and acceptance of diversity,” executive director of the organisation, Abel Chikomo said at a press briefing.  “Issues of sexuality impact on the diginity, privacy, identity and freedom of people. We urge you not to undermine the dignity of these individuals by making such homophobic statements.”

“We call on the GPA principals to desist from making statements likely to promote hate and prejudice. Zimbabwe is going through a transition from a period characterized by hate, violence and economic suffering and move towards national healing,” he added.

Speaking at the same press conference Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe Director Chesterfield Samba said they had resolved that sexual orientation and gender identity were integral to every person’s dignity and must not be the basis for discrimination.

“We agreed that it is necessary to specifically include sexual orientation in our new constitution to ensure equality for all and we commit to educating, lobbying and advocating to achieve this end,” added Samba.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai were quoted in The state-owned Herald saying gay rights had  no space  in the new constitution.

Mugabe was quoted saying the issue of “gay rights” was not even debatable. In the past he has described homosexuals as “worse than dogs and pigs”.

Tsvangirai said he agreed with President Mugabe, adding would one want to marry another man when there is a shortage of men to go around women who make up 52 percent of the country’s population.