Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has called for an end to the abuse of and dehumanisation of LGBTI individuals in Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that he will not campaign for gay rights although he said that those interested in the rights are free to campaign for them. Former president Robert Mugabe had no tolerance for gays and lesbians and often used derogatory terms when referring to them. In a statement to mark Zimbabwe’s 38 years of Independence, GALZ said:
Zimbabwe marks 38 years of Independence today. One of the reasons for the struggle for Independence was to bring about equality for all before the law and GALZ strives to see this becoming a reality in present-day Zimbabwe. GALZ joins the nation in celebrating and honouring Zimbabwe’s men and women who sacrificed their lives to bring freedom for ALL.
Despite the greats strides taken to ensure independence and equal opportunities for all Zimbabweans by Government and various stakeholders, our community continues to five in fear of violence and abuse because they have witnessed abuse or encountered violent hom0phobic slurs. The law facilitates harassment of LGBTI individuals because of their real or perceived se_xual orientation or gender identity.
We demand an end to the vilification, abuse and dehumanisation of LGBTI individuals in Zimbabwe. We also encourage the state to support the work of all human rights defenders including those working in defence of the right to non-discrimination on the basis of se_xual orientation and gender identity.
We hope that the attitude and policies of the new dispensation will signify a departure from the past administration’s culture of intolerance and impunity. We encourage the President to disinherit the archaic British colonial laws that are used to punish and discriminate LGBTI individuals in Zimbabwe.
As Zimbabwe works towards reconstruction, sustainable recovery and economic development should be prioritised during this transition to regain her place as a regional economic power. This is possible!
As we celebrate the important milestones that we have achieved throughout our existence, we remain visible to serve our community even in an extremely fraught environment. We believe that sustained activism based on a politics of hope can win extremely inspirational victories, as it is the basic policy of GALZ, to turn apparent defeat into triumph.
This positive attitude stems from the pride we have in ourselves, the confidence and determination that we will succeed in normalising the position of LOST people in society.