Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has promised hell for gays and lesbians, if his Zanu PF party wins the upcoming elections, vowing to amend laws that would make ‘offenders’ ‘rot in jail’ for life.
The president stated that current sentences imposed on child rapists, sodomisers and paedophiles are ‘too lenient’.
Mugabe vowed that gay marriage would never be accepted in Zimbabwe and seems to conflate LGBT people with rape.
During a speech at a Roman Catholic Church-run Bondolfi Teachers’ College’s graduation ceremony he said: ‘We do not have a culture of men marrying men or women marrying women.
‘We cannot accept it, no, no, no. These things are taboo in our society,' he stressed, yesterday (16 June).
The proposed draft constitution of Zimbabwe, which Mugabe says will be ratified if he wins, reads: ‘Persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other.’
The president went on also to say: ‘Some rape minors they are entrusted with in a short space of time, maybe it is for juju. We regret this is happening, big men do it.
‘What is getting into our society?’
Mugabe vowed that if Zanu PF wins the upcoming general elections, he would amend the law imposing stricter punishments.
‘After the polls, we will strengthen the law and make it really punitive and bitterly punishable for such people.
‘At the moment, they get something like three months’ imprisonment.
‘They should rot in jail . . . We want a nation guided by strong values, we cannot give up our values for money.’
Mugabe also praised the Catholic Church ‘resisting’ gay issues while criticizing the Anglican Church for accepting gays.
He stated: ‘I am glad in the Catholic Church there is stiff resistance to homosexuality, unlike in the Anglicans in Britain where the church accepts it. Where is the church going?’
Male homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and in 2006 the country’s government amended the law which now states that sodomy is any ‘act involving contact between two males that would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act’, thereby criminalizing even holding hands, hugging, or kissing.
During Zimbabwe's annual independence celebrations in 1995 Mugabe proclaimed that homosexuality ‘degrades human dignity’, ‘unnatural’ and ‘worse than dogs and pigs.'
Since then, President Mugabe has increased the political repression of Zimbabwe’s LGBT community.
Chesterfield Samba, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe, commented on the president's anti-gay rant to GSN: ‘Mugabe continues with his vitriolic attacks on gays as part of a strategy to try and cordon off Zimbabwe from the rest of the world and deflect pressure from Zimbabweans for him to embrace pluralism, multi-party democracy and the promotion of human rights culture.
‘Zanu Pf’s instruments of intimidation and electioneering which include the subject of gays remains as strong as ever and is once again being used as a red herring for the real woes in this country around good governance.
‘His outbursts have done much to highlight the dictatorial tendencies of his regime and the difficulties facing LGBT people throughout Zimbabwe.
‘Politically populist and outrageous statements such as these are undoubtedly going to characterize the upcoming elections with consequences to the LGBTI Community in Zimbabwe.’