Last edited: December 08, 2004

Zimbabwe Broadcast Chief Faces Probe

Associated Press, April 2, 2002

By Angus Shaw

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)—The government plans to investigate the powerful head of the state broadcast station on allegations of homosexuality, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The inquiry was prompted by allegations Alum Mpofu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp., caused a disturbance Thursday at a Harare nightclub after being caught "in a compromising situation" with a man, the state Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.

Mpofu has refused comment.

President Robert Mugabe is reviled by gay activists around the world for outlawing homosexual acts and describing same-sex partners as "worse than pigs and dogs."

The accusations against Mpofu came two years after Zimbabwe’s former ceremonial president, Canaan Banana, was jailed for committing homosexual acts and indecent assault on members of his presidential guard in a case that deeply embarrassed Mugabe’s government.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said Mpofu, a ruling party loyalist appointed to lead the state broadcaster ahead of last month’s presidential elections, "will be given a fair hearing and allowed time to tell his side of the story," The Herald reported.

Moyo said the broadcasters’ board of directors was asked to determine the truth behind the alleged incident at a night club owned by a ruling party lawmaker.

Moyo recruited Mpofu, a Zimbabwean working at the South African Broadcasting Corp., last July to head changes at the ZBC that streamlined its role as a government mouthpiece.

Mugabe, declared the winner in the disputed March 9-11 presidential election, scoffed in his campaign at homosexuality in Britain, the former colonial power he accused of backing the opposition.

He repeatedly said British Prime Minister Tony Blair led "a government of gay gangsters and lesbians" who needed biology classes on human reproduction.

Moyo said Mpofu’s alleged behavior was "totally unacceptable" from a public official, regardless of whether a man or woman was involved.

But Moyo also condemned homosexuality.

"Sexual perverts need to be told once again that homosexuality is unnatural," he said. "The only people who accept homosexuality are liberals who think it is a way of getting votes."

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