The Bulawayo city centre

Residents of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, are reportedly refusing to use pink rubbish bins donated to the city by a local gay rights group.

According to NewsDay, the 20 bins, which are painted pink and bear the logo of the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC), have raised the ire of the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association.

“The issue of gays and lesbians is a very controversial national problem and council was, therefore, supposed to consult the people as accepting the donation could be misconstrued to mean the local authority subscribes to gay rights,” Bulawayo United Residents’ Association Secretary-General Samuel Moyo told the newspaper.

It was reported that the bins had been received by Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo at a function at City Hall. He defended his acceptance of the bins.

“We are a city of various citizens, we will not consider a person’s religion, sexual orientation, race, gender, class or whatever. Gays have the right to donate to council and we have the right to receive from them, he said.

“The reception of a donation from gay people does not mean that this is a sign that we support the idea of homosexuality, but it shows that we do not discriminate against them based on their sexuality.”

The fate of the bins, however, is unclear. The SRC said the bins had been placed around the city centre but had disappeared the following day and had not been seen since.

SRC board member Ricky Nathanson told NewsDay that she was disappointed by the removal of the bins. “Council has the final decision on how these bins would be used, we just simply donated them,” she said.

Mayor Moyo said that he was not aware of the fate of the bins.

Gay sex – along with members of the same sex holding hands, hugging or kissing – is illegal in Zimbabwe with penalties of up to three years in jail.

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