Surprise meeting: Is Zim seeing a departure from Zanu-PF's tough stance towards gays?

2018-06-23 10:14
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Top officials from President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ruling Zanu-PF party have reportedly met with representatives of the Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community in a bid to "fix" relations ahead of the July 30 elections.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, the Gays and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) director Chester Samba confirmed the surprise meeting, adding that war veterans' secretary general Victor Matemadanda was among the ruling party delegation.

Samba said the high level meeting came after the LGBT group had written to Mnangagwa requesting his government’s position on the group’s affairs in the southern African country.

He said the government had promised to give the group a more formal response on a variety of issues they raised during the meeting. 

The move signalled a more tolerant approach, which could be seen as a "departure from the ruling party's tough stance towards gays when the country was still under former president Robert Mugabe who once described gays as worse than pigs and dogs", the report said.

Mugabe made headlines in 2015 when he told the United Nations General Assembly in New York that his country will not accept homosexuality, saying that those of homosexual orientation were lower than "pigs, goats and birds".

According to Reuters, the country's constitution prohibits homosexuality, but it is silent on gay relations. 

Laws criminalising homosexuality in Zimbabwe carry penalties of up to three years in jail, and police often arrest gays, then set them free without bringing charges.

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Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe 2018 elections

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