Chesterfield Samba, Director of Galz

The Zimbabwean authorities intend to prosecute the country’s biggest LGBT group for “insulting” President Robert Mugabe.

On Tuesday, Chesterfield Samba, Director of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz), appeared before the police’s CID drugs section to discuss pending charges of undermining the authority of or insulting President Mugabe.

The charges are related to a 2010 incident in which police raided Galz’s offices in Harare and allegedly found pornographic material.

A placard allegedly displayed in the offices, in which former San Francisco Mayor Willie Lewis Brown, Jr denounces Mugabe’s homophobia against gays and lesbians, was also cited by police who threatened to press charges of insulting the president .

Two Galz employees were eventually acquitted of the possession of pornography charges and the authorities appeared to drop the charges relating to the placard, at least until this week.

On Tuesday, Samba was accompanied by his lawyer, Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, during his interrogation.

He told Mambaonline that the authorities’ latest move was clear “harassment” of the organisation.

“We remain resolute in our work of promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI people,” said Samba. “We are determined to see this through.”

Galz has suffered ongoing harassment from the authorities over the years. Also in 2010, police raided Samba’s home. In 2011, Galz reported that a number of its members had been subjected to “arbitrary detentions, harassment and intimidation”.

In 2005, Mugabe called Galz “repugnant to my human conscience” and offensive “against the law of nature and the morals of religious beliefs”.

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