A British gay rights activist has been accused by the Zimbabwean authorities of plotting to overthrow the government. Peter Tatchell, a long time critic of President Robert Mugabe – viewed by many as a despot – was named as one of the people behind the alleged coup.

A Zimbabwe television news report showed a gun cache allegedly found in the home of a member of the underground Zimbabwean Freedom Movement (ZFM), which it claims aims to overthrow Mugabe’s government. Up to six people have been arrested. It also said that the official opposition, the MDC, was part of the plot.

Tatchell has often criticised Mugabe – who has publicly equated gays and lesbian with “pigs” and “being worse than dogs” – for his homophobic stance and policies. Tatchell has also previously attempted to undertake a citizen’s arrest of the president when he visited Europe in the past – accusing him of human rights violations.

The ZFM was launched last year in London with the help of Tatchell, who at the time said that he was merely giving the organisation publicity, and was not a member. The Zimbabwe government has long claimed that Western influence and money have been behind opposition to Mugabe. Tatchell has subsequently denied having anything to do with the ZFM’s activities.

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