Justice Mayor Wadyajena
A Zimbabwean MP is suing rivals in his party for a whopping $200,000 for saying that he’s gay in a video posted on social media.
Lawyers representing Justice Mayor Wadyajena, a ZANU PF MP for the Gokwe Nembudziya constituency, have sent a letter of demand to the men insisting on an apology and the cash settlement.
According to New Zimbabwe, Wadyajena claims that fellow ZANU PF politicians embroiled in the Robert Mugabe succession battle stated at a recent rally in support of First Lady Grace Mugabe that Wadyajena is insane and gay.
Wadyajena, who backs Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to replace Mugabe, has named businessman Philip Chiyangwa and party colleagues Acie Lumumba and Mabuso Chinguno in the defamation suit.
A video, recorded by Chiyangwa, is said to show the men claiming that Wadyajena reversed his support for Grace Mugabe because he is insane and that he is gay.
The video was posted on Chiyangwa’s Facebook page and reportedly went viral.
“Our client contends that he is sane and does not practice gayism,” said Wadyajena’s lawyers in court papers.
Chiyangwa’s legal representatives have dismissed the lawsuit as a publicity stunt and struck back that Wadyajena “does not have any standing, stature, status eminence or value worth defaming.”
Claiming that political opponents are gay is becoming an all too common strategy in Zimbabwe, much to the alarm of the country’s LGBTI community.
In June, Chester Samba, Director of LGBTI rights group Galz, told Mambaonline: “Increasingly, politicians are using social issues that play on prejudices and fears, such as gays in government, in the succession battle.
“These leaders are trying to show us that labelling someone gay in a very homophobic society is enough to silence critics and continue the rage.”
Samba said that these statements “only serve to further political intolerance of the LGBTI community thereby exposing it to more violence and aversion.”
President Mugabe has previously stated that gay people are “worse than pigs and dogs” and that they “don’t have any human rights at all.”
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 entrenched in the country’s Constitution.