Zimbabwean lawmakers resist LGBTQI rights


HARARE – Some Zimbabwean legislators have expressed their opposition to granting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people the freedom to openly exercise their sexual rights. This came to light at a sensitisation workshop on sexual reproductive health rights organised by Katswe Sistahood, a local women's rights organisation.

LGBTQ rights in Zimbabwe
Image: AP Images

Energy Mutodi, a ruling party lawmaker and chairperson of the parliamentary committee on justice, legal and parliamentary affairs, said he was against same-sex rights in Zimbabwe for the sake of the human race.

"This is for the simple reason that we are very much interested in the continued existence of the human race ... It's something that the society is trying to understand, but we are saying we don't want our people practising homosexuality," he said at the workshop.

Chenjerai Kangausaru, another ruling party legislator, said he would oppose any legislation that supports same-sex marriages, citing religious reasons.

"God created Adam and Eve and didn't create Adam and Adam. There are certain rights that are against what God created, so we will not stand one day and pass a law that allows same-sex marriages," he said.

"We do not want to find ourselves in trouble the same way the people in the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah found themselves in. We will strongly act against it."

Tsitsi Zhou, a female lawmaker from the ruling party, said discussing LGBTQI issues could give wrong ideas to the youth, who make up the majority of the country's population.

"As legislators we are here to hear the challenges our children are going through and to protect them, but never in any instance will we encourage them to engage in such acts. They should remove it from their minds," she said.

Zimbabwe is a conservative society that is averse to LGBTQI rights. 

In 2006, same-sex activity was outlawed by the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which criminalises acts of "sodomy" and carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and a fine. Only men are criminalised under this law.

Other African countries have also taken a hard stance against LGBTQI rights, such as Uganda, whose president Yoweri Museveni recently signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which imposes a maximum penalty of a death sentence for aggravated homosexual acts.

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