Zim gay debate goes viral

GOVERNMENT

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Zim gay debate goes viral

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been a butt of jokes most of his political career, but his recent statements on gay rights have torched a social media storm.

A movement called ‘One Million Against Morgan Tsvangirai Gay Statements’ debuted on Facebook this week - most likely launched by opponents of his Movement for Democratic Party – with a symbol of a splinter MDC formation on the background of a Zanu-PF flag.

Speaking to BBC's Newsnight programme on a recent visit to the British capital, Tsvangirai said he would defend gay rights if he became president but noted that there was a "very strong cultural feeling" against homosexuality in Zimbabwe.

"It's a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody. To me, it's a human right," he said.

He later told a local political rally: “I am not gay, but I will not persecute someone who wishes to make his or her own choice about their sexual orientation, it is their own business.”

Zimbabwe is drafting a new constitution, which will be put to a referendum ahead of possible elections next year and Tsvangirai’s statements are seen as a call to enshrine gay rights in the final draft.

However, homosexual acts are illegal in Zimbabwe as in most African countries except South Africa, where many people view such as un-African.

Tsvangirai, who founded the MDC in 1999, is seen as the second most powerful politician in Zimbabwe and likely future president after his party took majority seats in the 2008 parliamentary vote.

However, his comments alarmed many in the conservative country and within a short time had gone viral on Facebook and Twitter social media forums, mainly because his coalition government partner President Mugabe - a practising Catholic - once described gays as "worse than pigs and dogs", sparking international outrage.

Rivals waded into the controversy and Zanu-PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo speculated in the State-owned Herald newspaper that the British were pressuring Tsvangirai to support gay rights in return for aid.

“There is a clear link between what Tsvangirai is now advocating and it is not surprising. They (MDC-T) are sponsored by the British and the West and they have to toe the line. Failure to do so would cost them British support,” he told the Herald.

The Herald maintains that gays and lesbians freely exist in Zimbabwe and are not persecuted, they are only prosecuted at law if they take their activities into the public domain since the constitution does not provide for same-sex unions and calls homosexuality ‘an abomination’.

It is widely believed that social media played an integral role in the election of United States President Barack Obama and its omnipresence fuelled the Arab Spring.

In Zimbabwe, it may determine the fate of one Morgan Tsvangirai.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

Search News

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

NCA Chairman calls for strong ties between Africa’s telecom regulators

The Chairman of Ghana’s National Communications Authority, Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, has emphasised the need for regulatory bodies in the African telecommunications industry to close ranks to ensure a stronger collaborations. Read More

Cybercrooks steal N127b annually in Nigeria, says ComTech minister

Nigeria’s ComTech Minister, Barr Adebayo Shittu, has lamented that Nigeria loses N127 billion annually to cyber thieves, warning that if it is not addressed, it posed a great deal of threat to the national economy. Read More

Nigeria's ComTech minister restates need for ICT University

Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has restated the need for the establishment of an ICT University in Nigeria, the first of its kind in Africa. Read More

Nigeria tax chief to go after telcos, others

The Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Tunde Fowler, has said the focus of the service this quarter, was to recoup taxes owed by telecoms firms, airlines, and deposit money banks (DMBs).   Read More

NCA to mark 20th anniversary with Symposium on Regulations

Ghana’s National Communications Authority is set to hold a two day symposium in Accra as part of events to mark its 20th anniversary as a regulator. Read More

NCC pays N1.4 tr into Federation Account, says Dambatta

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has paid over N1.4 trillion to the Federation Account, the CEO of the regulatory body, Prof Garba Dambatta has said. Read More

NCC pays N70b to Nigeria Govt

The Nigerian Communications Commission says it has remitted N70 billon to the Federation Account in the last one year of Prof Umar Danbatta’s appointment as executive vice chairman and CEO. Read More

GCAA move to register drone operations in Ghana

The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, the body in charge of running the country’s aviation industry, has embarked on an exercise to register remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones with effect from September this year. Read More

NCA wins CTO Policy and Regulatory Award

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has awarded Ghana's telecoms regulator the award for Best ICT Policy and Regulatory Initiative for its billing feedback system. Read More

Lawmakers want TSA investigated

Nigeria’s lower house, the House of Representatives, is making moves to investigate how much has come into the Treasury Single Account (TSA). Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks UnlimitedArbor NetworksEricssonTigo Ghana

FEATURED STORY

First-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludesFirst-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludes

Ten fintech companies have concluded the first-ever Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Africa.

 

Advertisement

IN DEPTH

Ethical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a jobEthical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a job

Botswana ethical hacking students report that they are failing to break into the local job market.