Zanu-PF party councilor Richman Rangwani has risked the wrath of his own party by speaking in favor of the rights of gays and lesbians during an event at the Dutch embassy in Chisipite to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on Saturday.
Rangwani, who is also an AIDS activist and traditional leader, said Zimbabwean politicians had a track record of betraying their LGBTI countrymen and women, seeking their votes at election time but then condemning them once they had secured office.
‘The political situation in Zimbabwe [is] they only talk about it over the media when it's after the elections, when everybody has voted,’ Rangwani said according to Bulawayo 24 News.
‘If this other group of people do not have rights or are not people, do not call [on] them to vote. I am always telling them, no, gentlemen, we need to sit down and talk about this matter.’
Rangwani said he had been working to change attitudes towards homosexuals in his district of Mhondoro Ngezi and said people would change their minds about them if given the correct information.
‘If we have all this information in the community where I am coming from, things will be a lot different l can tell you,’ Rangwani said.
‘SAfAIDS came to my community and they have managed to talk to 250 or more headmen and let me tell you this, they understand.
‘The problem is that the people do not have information about this matter.’
Rangwani is a member of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party.
Mugabe has frequently demonized LGBTI people during his 34 years in power and threatened to pass new laws further criminalizing homosexuality during his re-election campaign last year.