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In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Gay Group's Donation of Trash Bins is Controversial

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Bulawayo Residents Association Secretary General Samuel Moyo said the council should have consulted residents first as homosexuality is a highly controversial subject in Zimbabwe

The donation of trash bins to Bulawayo by a gays and lesbian rights group has sparked controversy with some residents objecting to and refusing to use the bins because they believe the group pushes a way of life with which they do not agree.

The logo and name of the Sexual Rights Center is painted on the bright pink bins, which stand out in sharp contrast to the standard yellow City of Bulawayo bins.

Bulawayo Mayor Patrick Thaba-Moyo defended the city’s acceptance of the bins, saying the city will place them at strategic locations. He said gays and lesbians are taxpayers and can make whatever kinds of donations to the city they like.

But Bulawayo Residents Association Secretary General Samuel Moyo said the council should have consulted residents first as homosexuality is controversial in Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mutabe has expressed his personal distaste for homosexuality and the general culture, highly traditional, tends to be averse to the notion of same-sex ties.

Even the relatively progressive Movement for Democratic Change formation headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has stopped short of endorsing gay rights, stating that Zimbabweans will decide whether to enshrine them in the new constitution currently being drafted and which is to be the subject of a referendum next year.

It seems unlikely that the drafters - and the representative of the governing political parties which include Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF - will include such language.

Sexual Rights Center spokesman Mojalisa Mokoele said the donation of trash bins was was intended to raise awareness of cleanliness, adding that his advocacy group is not insulted by the opposition expressed by some Bulawayo residents.

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