President Robert Mugabe: an avowed homophobe
In a move that’s unlikely to impress President Robert Mugabe, a Zanu-PF councillor for Mhondoro Ngezi, near the city of Kadoma, has announced his support for gay rights.
According to Bulawao 24, ruling party Councillor Richman Rangwani is said to have “come out in the open to champion [the] rights of homosexuals.”
Rangwani reportedly spoke out on the issue during a private ceremony commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) at the Dutch ambassador’s residence in Harare on Saturday.
Described as “a respected headman who presides at the court of the paramount chief,” Rangwani is said to have told the audience at the function that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.
He also said that people were opposed to homosexuality because they lacked knowledge on the issue.
“I am saying today the International Day Against Homophobia is a milestone, wait and find out in the next two years and if God permits me to live the next five years, I would have done something personally, I am not afraid,” Rangwani said.
According to New Zimbabwe, the ceremony, which was hosted by the Dutch Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gera Sneller, included members of the gay and lesbian community.
Rangwani’s progressive statements on homosexuality are in direct opposition to those held by Mugabe, the head of Zanu-PF.
Mugabe has openly attacked and vilified gays and lesbians for years and recently promised to further crack down on the community and the country’s LGBT rights group, GALZ.
Gay sex and public affection are illegal in Zimbabwe, with penalties of up to three years in jail. Same-sex marriage is also illegal, as specified in the country’s constitution.