Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai (right)

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo has called for traditional leaders to seize land owned by gays and lesbians.

According to New Zimbabwe, Chombo described homosexuality as a “foreign value” while addressing hundreds of villagers and traditional leaders in Jotsholo, Matabeleland North.

“The chiefs are there to protect and promote our cultural values and those who support same sex marriages must be banished from the communities and be dispossessed of their land,” he was quoted as saying.

“What kind of madness is this that when we have beautiful women in our country some people want to marry other men?” he added.

Chief Gampu Sithole of Tsholotsho also commented on the issue at the gathering: “As chiefs, we are very clear on homosexuals. We denounce them. I agree with Minister Chombo that those who support homosexuality should be expelled from our communities and their land forfeited.”

Chombo, said to be close to President Robert Mugabe, was accused in March of corruption over allegations he had illegally acquired state land.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe. There have been some efforts to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in the country’s planned new Constitution, but these have been rejected by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

In October last year, Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister and Mugabe’s biggest rival Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC that he supported equal rights for gays and lesbians.

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