desperate times

Should Zimbabwe’s Gays Have Any Hope About the New Constitution?

Well this is just about the most clarifying piece we’ve read in recent memory that explains WTF is happening in Zimbabwe with regard to the gays. We already know that neither President Robert Mugabe nor Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai support adding gay protections to the new federal constitution, but does that mean the jig is up?

It’s not looking terribly good, writes Sanderson N. Makombe: “One of the key components of the constitutional reform process is fulfilled by stakeholder and public participation. Among the groups to participate obviously will be ZANU PF.This is a mafia styled organisation that has raped, killed, and maimed innocent civilians opposed to their destructive policies. Their barbaric onslaughts are surely contrary to public morals as well as being very criminal. They have caused more misery than the gay community in Zimbabwe. However they have a right to participate and air their views like anyone else, a right the gay community must be allowed also to enjoy. By Mugabe stating that the’ issue is not subject to debate’, is COPAC going to wilfully discriminate against the Zimbabwean gay community by omitting them from participation? Surely constitutional reform is not about writing what Mugabe wants but what the nation desires. If we are not careful, this could be a repeat of the Chidyausiku commission draft which Mugabe amended before tabling it for the referendum. We all know the end result. The executive must not be allowed to interfere with the public consultation process no matter how popular their opinions are.”

So how come more folks in Zimbabwe aren’t speaking up for the gays?: “It is hard to wear a straight face when debating such a topic as it is pregnant with so much prejudice, controversy, intolerance and populism. Either by the end you are labelled homophobic [by gay advocates] or a ‘gay in a closet’ [by those against]. Hardly surprising then that even the most ardent human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, individuals and organisations alike, decided to mum over opinions of the President and the Prime Minister .If it was any other issue, the media would have been awash with commentary. Their fear is a backlash from the general populace for condoning ‘immoral acts’ contrary to ‘African culture’. On the other hand, to publicly support Gay bashing would anger their ‘western sponsors’ who advocate friendly gay policies under the banner of valuing diversity, freedom of choice and sex orientation and basic human rights.”

Ugh. The outcome appears particularly bleak.