Zimbabwe: “True leadership remains steadfast”

In a statement, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has responded to Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s tentative embrace of constitutional protections for sexual orientation. While welcoming the comments, they

note however that these statements contradict his views expressed in March 2010, when Mr Tsvangirai agreed with President Mugabe, saying, “Gay rights were not up for discussion in Zimbabwe.”

Gay rights are a controversial issue in Zimbabwe, where many people view homosexuality as “uncultural.” GALZ does not expect every individual Zimbabwean to embrace gay rights or the issue of homosexuality. But we do expect Zimbabweans – and our political leaders in particular – to understand and promote the fundamental, inalienable and indivisible nature of human rights, including non-discrimination on the basis of race, gender, tribe, culture, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

Zimbabwe’s new, democratic constitution must enshrine these human rights, which are inherent to every human being, and are not determined by majority opinion.

We encourage the Prime Minister to take positive action to support his most recent statement on the indivisibility of human rights.

Further, we urge him to have the courage to stand by his laudable respect for human rights in the face of the propaganda and unpopularity that will be generated by the Zimbabwean media around his position.

True leadership remains steadfast in the pursuit of justice and equality.

The propaganda has begun.  Today Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister, a staunch apparatchik of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, accused Tsvangirai of shifting to secure donor funds: 

“”We all know what people said about gay rights – it’s a total no; an almost 100% no … We can’t smuggle [into the constitution] the views of a prime minister who wants to please a certain audience basically, I suppose, to mobilise resources for his party.”