THE Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) lobby group has said it hopes President Robert Mugabe’s resignation will end the brutality and hate of they suffered at the hands of the veteran leader for almost two decades.
Mugabe, 93, was last week forced to resign under pressure from military and his own ruling Zanu PF party which initiated impeachment proceedings with the backing of the opposition.
The development represented a dramatic and humiliating end to 37 years in power for the nonagenarian who was bitterly opposed to homose xuality.
Speaking in Harare at the weekend, GALZ director Chesterfield Samba, told NewZimbabwe.com that the community received Mugabe’s resignation with jubilation.
“We are ecstatic that the face of brutality, hate and impunity has resigned,” said Samba.
“Mugabe, repeatedly, fuelled public prejudice against LGBTI individuals through public statements that endorsed abuse of LGBTI people in Zimbabwe.
“LGBTI people were subjected to abuse and harassment on account of their real or perceived se xual orientation, gender identity and expression.”
Samba said under Mugabe’s rule, the State had, in many cases, been an active sponsor of homo phobia by subjecting individuals suspected of being gay or lesbian” to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment”.
“GALZ welcomes the news of Mugabe’s resignation with much celebration and implores the new President to uphold the rule of law, respect the constitution of Zimbabwe, allow Zimbabweans to enjoy their freedoms particularly of expression and association and to ensure that citizens do not live in fear of their leaders,” said Samba.
“Mugabe, to us, represented a brutal system and the real work of sanitizing this system continues.
“In light of the resignation of Robert Mugabe, GALZ hopes that the new government will commit to upholding Zimbabwe’s constitutional obligations to protect the rights of all people, including LGBTI people.”
While in power, Mugabe regularly lashed out at gays and lesbians and publicly disparaged them as “worse than pigs and dogs”.