Zim civil servant challenges dismissal for attending gay party

2015-09-25 14:09

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Bulawayo – A former Zimbabwean civil servant is reportedly challenging his dismissal from his job after he was arrested for allegedly attending a gay party at a hotel in Bulawayo.

The man, Raymond Sibanda, was arrested together with many others after police raided a Gays and Lesbians' Association of Zimbabwe (Galz) end of year party in December 2013, according to a New Zimbabwe.com report.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe has in previous years made headlines after he told gay people to go to "hell". He also stated that those of homosexual orientation were lower than "pigs, goats and birds".

Last year, the veteran leader said gay rights were not human rights, adding Zimbabwe would never let children grow up thinking that there was an alternative to the God-prescribed marriage system.

Sibanda was released after paying a $10 admission of guilt fine, the report said.

His employers, the youth and indigenisation ministry, however, charged him with misconduct and terminated his contract in July 2014.

Freedom of assembly 

Sibanda has since moved to file an application at a labour court in Bulawayo, challenging his dismissal, according to the state-owned Chronicle newspaper.

He argued, among other things, that being present at the hotel at the same time as the Galz event did not mean he was part of it.

Sibanda cited the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Patrick Zhuwawo and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) as the respondents.

"The respondents alleged that I was associated with gays, but the supreme law of the country, which is the Constitution under section 58, states that every person has freedom of assembly and association," Sibanda argued.

"Are the respondents therefore claiming that I was not supposed to be at Windermere Hotel just because there was a Galz party being hosted there?"

But the respondents maintained Sibanda’s conduct was tantamount to tarnishing the image of government.

They also said the decision by the disciplinary committee to fire Sibanda followed adequate evidence linking him to the alleged offence.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  patrick zhuwawo  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  gay rights

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