Morgan Tsvangirai

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has said that it welcomes comments by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to the BBC, wherein “he told the BBC that gay rights were a ‘human right’ that conservative Zimbabweans should respect”.

“It’s a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody,” Tsvangirai told Newsnight’s Gavin Esler.

In a statement, GALZ noted that these comments contradict his views expressed in March 2010, when Tsvangirai agreed with President Mugabe, saying, “Gay rights were not up for discussion in Zimbabwe.”

GALZ said that it does not expect every individual Zimbabwean to embrace gay rights or the issue of homosexuality, “but we do expect Zimbabweans – and our political leaders in particular – to understand and promote the fundamental, inalienable and indivisible nature of human rights, including non-discrimination on the basis of race, gender, tribe, culture, sexual orientation or political affiliation”.

The organisation insisted that Zimbabwe’s new, democratic constitution must enshrine these human rights.

“We encourage the Prime Minister to take positive action to support his most recent statement on the indivisibility of human rights.

“Further, we urge him to have the courage to stand by his laudable respect for human rights in the face of the propaganda and unpopularity that will be generated by the Zimbabwean media around his position. True leadership remains steadfast in the pursuit of justice and equality,” concluded GALZ.

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