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

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

Online condolences flood in for Sata

Zambians and non-Zambians have flooded social media sites with condolences over the death of the country’s president Michael Sata at the age of 77. Read More

Harnessing support for Government to leverage Open Source

Free Open Source Software (FOSS) has huge potential to be an enabler for effective service delivery, says T-Systems. Read More

Rwanda to fast-track cashless society

The Government of Rwanda has moved to accelerate its plans to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy. Read More

Senegal moves to protect citizens’ personal data

Senegal has launched a major public consultation exercise to seek practical and operational solutions to protect its citizens’ personal information, and promote the development of the digital economy. Read More

Rwanda re-elected member of ITU Council

Rwanda has been re-elected a member state of the Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for 2014-2018.  Read More

Tanzania’s 2014-2025 energy reform roadmap to success

Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals has published an Electricity Supply Industry Reform Strategy and Roadmap for 2014 to 2025. Read More

ICT put to good use in Botswana elections

Botswana voters went to the polls today in an election that that been characterised by innovative ICT use. Read More

Presidential candidates say no to BTCL privatisation

Former Malawian president Joyce Banda graced the live Gabz FM Botswana presidential candidates debates at Westwood primary school, where the two presidential candidates present say the BTCL IPO is in vain.  Read More

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT addresses ITU Plenipotentiary Conference

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, today addressed the 19th International Telecommunication Union plenipotentiary conference in South Korea. Read More

UNDP donates ICT equipment for DRC elections

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has donated ICT equipment to the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support the electoral process in this war-hit Central African nation. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

Growing African focus on data securityGrowing African focus on data security

Beachhead Solutions’ new SA and Mauritius country manager explains the challenges and solutions around securing customer data and compliance with new personal information legislation.

IN DEPTH

Africa lags on digital migration Africa lags on digital migration

Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.  

COMPANY NEWS

Schneider Electric off-grid, on-profit solutions to create social change in African rural communitie

Schneider Electric South Africa has set itself a target to create access to energy for 20,000 Africans by the end of this year. 

SAP accelerates shift to the Cloud with 41% revenue growth in third quarter

SAP has once again raised its revenue outlook, reporting broad market adoption of SAP HANA and its ‘Run Simple’ strategy validated.