Zimbabwean gay rights advocates have criticized President Robert Mugabe for once again declaring that protection of the right of sexual orientation has no place in the new constitution currently being discussed.
Addressing pilgrims in the Manicaland province district of Marange who were attending Passover observations of the Johannes Marange Apostolic sect this weekend, Mr. Mugabe said, "We “say no to gay rights."
Mr. Mugabe's latest anti-homosexuality broadside comes as as gays and lesbians mobilize to ensure their rights are enshrined in the revised constitution for which public comment is now being collected nationwide.
“Today, the Anglican Church condones marriages between men and the same for women. The Archbishop of Canterbury is blessing such marriages - that is similar to dog behaviour," Mr. Mugabe said. “At some point, I realised that I was reprimanding blameless dogs and pigs, which are aware that marriage is for procreation."
“We say no to gays! We will not listen to those advocating the inclusion of their rights in the constitution,” he said.
Homosexuality is not outlawed in Zimbabwe as such, but sodomy is a crime.
Two staff members of Gays and Lesbians for Zimbabwe were arrested earlier this year for alleged possession of pornography. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a spokesman for the organization told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaria that all the gay community asks is protection under the new constitution.
Constitutional expert Lovemore Madhuku, whose National Constitutional Assembly opposes a constitutional revision process run by Parliament, said Mr. Mugabe is confused in how he is framing the debate on homosexuality.
Political analyst Brilliant Mhlanga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Mr. Mugabe’s homophobic views are personal and should not be allowed to influence debate within the constitutional revision process.