President Mugabe (Pic: Jeremy Lock)

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP) has backed calls to ensure that minimum conditions for free and fair elections are in place before elections can be held in Zimbabwe.

In a statement, LGEP said that it supported the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition demand that these conditions be publicly set out at this weekend’s Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Openly homophobic President Robert Mugabe is pushing for elections to be held this year despite human rights groups insisting that the country is not in a position to hold free and fair elections due to continued political violence and intimidation.

LGBTI activists will join a protest organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition on Saturday outside the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, where the SADC Summit will be held.

“The violation of human rights and the undermining of democratic principles by the Zimbabwean government are part of the same continuum of hate, societal homophobia, ignorance, patriarchy, oppression, dictatorship, exploitation, and social injustices that scar Zimbabwe and many countries on our continent,” said LGEP.

It commented that, “In this sense, the oppression of one is an oppression of all”.

LGEP added that the picket is also “a message to the South African government which has begun to fail its constitutional mandate to promote, protect and advance human rights, equality, freedom and socio-economic justice.”

The South African government has been accused of at times not supporting LGBT rights in the international arena in order to show solidarity with other African nations.

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