The town of Kadoma
Two people described as “suspected” of being gay have been arrested in the Zimbabwean town of Kadoma on charges of sodomy.
According to The Herald newspaper, police targeted Ability Chatira Mpofu (24) and Blessing Chauke (28) following a tip-off that they were dealing in counterfeit South African currency.
Officers then became suspicions that Chauke, who was wearing a white skirt, a blouse, earrings and a wig, was biologically a man and forced the suspect to show her male genitals.
Police say that the couple then revealed that Mpofu paid a bridal price for Chauke and that they were customarily married in 2011 when they worked in South Africa as game keepers.
The money discovered in their possession was found to be genuine. They instead appeared before a Kadoma magistrate on the sodomy charges. The two remain in custody and could face up to three years in jail if found guilty.
The arrests come in the wake of a recent crackdown on the gay and lesbian community in Zimbabwe.
Over the past few weeks, members of the country’s LGBT rights group GALZ have been repeatedly harassed, intimidated and arrested by the authorities.
There have also been reports of people perceived to be gay being attacked by members of the public.
Last week, GALZ, which has been in operation for more than 20 years, was forced to shut its office in Harare when it was charged with running an unregistered organisation.
The group told Mambaonline that the gay and lesbian community is in a state of panic and fear as a result of the recent incidents.
Gay sex – along with members of the same sex holding hands, hugging, or kissing – is illegal in Zimbabwe.