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Gay association in Zimbabwe has 400 members

Although sexual acts between people of the same sex in illegal in Zimbabwe, the gay and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has 400 members according to former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray.

Ray thought this figure was small for a prominent organisation like GALZ.

He pointed out, however, that President Robert Mugabe has been one of Africa’s most outspoken and virulent critics of homosexuality describing gay people as “worse than pigs and dogs”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE1009, ZIMBABWE RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE1009

2009-12-29 13:33

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7123

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1009 3631333

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 291333Z DEC 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5268

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3232

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3343

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2970

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0031

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0033

UNCLAS HARARE 001009

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FRONT OFFICE

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

AF/RSA FOR LOUIS MAZEL, LAURA GRIESMER, AND LEARNED DEES

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ASEC KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL PTER ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON

HUMAN RIGHTS TRENDS PERTAINING TO SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND

GENDER IDENTITY

 

REF: STATE 130765

 

1. (U) Under Zimbabwean law, sexual acts between same sex

individuals are criminalized. Specifically, the Zimbabwean

Criminal Code states that sodomy is illegal, while sexual

acts between women are unlawful as they constitute “unnatural

acts.” With strong support from President Robert Mugabe,

Parliament overhauled the country’s anti-homosexual

legislation in 2006 and broadened the definition of sodomy to

any “act involving contact between two males that would be

regarded by a decent person as an indecent act.”

Additionally, Section 11 of the pre-independence Censorship

and Entertainments Control Act of 1967 has been used to

harass gay people in Zimbabwe. The Act states that “no

person shall import, print, publish, distribute or keep for

sale any publication which is undesirable.” A publication is

undesirable if it is “indecent or obscene.”

 

2. (U) While Section 23 of the Zimbabwean Constitution

protects citizens from a variety of forms of discrimination,

including discrimination on grounds of race, gender,

ethnicity, and religion, it is silent on homosexuality. This

suggests that a challenge of the criminal code on the basis

of protection from discrimination would not be successful.

There have been numerous prosecutions of homosexuals in

Zimbabwe, most notably former ceremonial president of

Zimbabwe Canaan Banana (served from 1980 to 1987) who was

convicted of engaging in sodomy in 2000 and served eight

months in prison.

 

3. (U) Politically, President Robert Mugabe has been one of

Africa’s most outspoken and virulent critics of

homosexuality. He has made numerous statements attacking

homosexuals and has railed against homosexuals as being

“worse than pigs and dogs.” Consistent with many of his

anti-western messages, he has argued that homosexuality is a

western import. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has supported his

anti-gay rhetoric, while the MDC party has been more

supportive of gay rights.

 

4. (U) Zimbabwean culture has traditionally not been

accepting of homosexuality. While that has begun to change

in urban areas, criticism of homosexuality is still widely

prevalent in the country’s rural areas. Civil society groups

interested in the issue have failed in efforts seeking

legislative protection of gay rights, but these groups are

seeking to include gay rights in ongoing efforts to reform

the constitution. The Gay and Lesbian Association of

Zimbabwe is the most prominent organization advocating for

gay rights in the country, but only has 400 members.

 

RAY

 

(72 VIEWS)

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