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Zimbabwe PM Draws Criticism Over Apparent Shift in Position on Gay Rights

Prime Minister Tsvangirai's statement to the BBC this week contradicted what he said in March 2010 supporting the position of President Robert Mugabe who said gay rights were not up for discussion in Zimbabwe


Violet Gonda

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has sparked a new controversy over gay rights with remarks he made this week to the BBC saying the right to sexual preference should be enshrined in the country’s new constitution, then backtracking.

In the BBC interview, Mr. Tsvangirai said: “I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody."

His latest statement contradicted what he said in March 2010 backing the position of President Robert Mugabe, saying gay rights were not up for discussion in Zimbabwe.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Mr. Tsvangirai’s statement to the BBC was out of touch with the Zimbabwean reality. MDC formation leader Welshman Ncube said the matter was one for Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe to resolve.

Tsvangirai spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka spoke of “misrepresentation” in connection with the prime minister's position on the rights of homosexuals and lesbians.

He said the people of Zimbabwe, who are drafting a new constitution, will decide the question of gay rights, and that Mr. Tsvangirai will be guided by that view.

“The prime minister has no power to impose or determine the position of the people of Zimbabwe regarding that process,” said Tamborinyoka.

Gays and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe Director Chesterfield Shamba called Mr. latest remarks contradictory, urging him to declare his respect for human rights.

Reverend Ray Motsi, an official with the Christian Alliance, said that Mr. Tsvangirai must clearly state his position as Zimbabwean prime minister on gay rights so Zimbabweans "would actually know that his position is such that he is saying he does not have problems with gays, which is not exactly what has been communicated.”

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Comments page of 2
by: keyzee
03.11.2011 04:21
politics aside, Morgan is a disgarace!

by: Sipambi
27.10.2011 17:15
As a much concerned Zimbabwean i dnt see Morgan Tsvangirai running Zimbabwe despite Robert Mugabe' s discredit and decline in support: if Morgan supports homosexuality, he is such a disgrace, lunnatic who always try to sacrifice the party for personal gain every time Robert proposes elections. Zero tolerance on homosexual in Zimbabwe whether its Zanu pf or MDC. DISGUSTED - SIPAMBI

by: Jefta Maruta
27.10.2011 12:19
The PM always weak when asked by the West especiallt Britain when it comes to the issue of gay rights, this is just unacceptable in Zimbabwe man to man cannot yeild a child or even woman to woman who becomes the father ?
By design God said One man one wife,
Mr Tsvangirai you know what we as Africans stand for.

by: Andrew
27.10.2011 00:34
I am not African. I am homosexual. In my country, homosexuals are free to be who they are. It has not hurt our society. There are still more heterosexuals and because there are more of them, laws were created to protect homosexuals from people who thought that if you make it illegal, it will go away. Homosexuals exist and mean no harm to anybody. I do not understand how Africa works. Is there a good reason to stop people from being who they are?

by: Jonpol
27.10.2011 00:05
I am delighted to read the Prime Minister's enlightened remarks about gay rights being human rights.

by: Watch & look
26.10.2011 18:07
It was only a mater of tym nw he is coming out with his tru colour than God it was in time b4 he deceives mo pple to put him in positiön

by: Berto da Silva
26.10.2011 17:48
I agree with Save,if the people said that gay rights should be enshrined in the new constitution then who is he to refute the will of the people...i see the Wikileakers are trying to divert the peoples attention by deliberately misquoting the full statement by Save.....

by: Edika
26.10.2011 16:41
PM Tsvangirai you will not cry that the election has been stolen next year.Zimbabwe has a clear culture which has no place for same sex rights and has a tiny constituency of homos.I thought you would suggest ways of having homos rehabilitated just as psychos are. Those guys are just sick and need god's grace.You now seem to be sick too. Why flip flop so cheaply like a cornered preschool boy?

by: John tundira
26.10.2011 14:56
personally i disagree with homosexual legalism. we dont condone such a thing. surely if the PM is in support of such then the hope which we had in him is nw fading.

by: Vikela
26.10.2011 14:32
Everyone is entitled to freedom of expression, people shuld be able to express their sexual orientation without fear of being descriminated. Gays and lesbians were created by God, luv them or hate them they are nt going anywhere anytime soon, they are here to stay

Comments page of 2