Last edited: July 11, 2004

Mugabe to Root Out Gays

Zimbabwe Standard, July 2, 2002
P O Box 661730, Kopje, Harare, Zimbabwe
Fax: 263 4 773941

By Walter Marwizi

President Robert Mugabe, embarrassed by allegations of homosexuality levelled at members of his administration, has ordered a witch hunt to flush out gays and lesbians in his government, The Standard has learnt.

Official sources told The Standard last week that Mugabe, who caused outrage among homosexuals worldwide—including gay rights activist Peter Tatchell—by describing them as "worse than dogs and pigs", issued the order for the crackdown on "sexual perverts" two weeks ago.

"The president made it clear that the world would see him as a hypocrite if he attacked British Prime Minister Tony Blair for having a cabinet full of gays when these very same people are said to be in his administration. He indicated that Mugabe had long been advised that everyone who wined and dined with him was of the ‘right’ sexual orientation," said the sources.

Mugabe has, in the past few years, openly paraded his deeply entrenched hatred for homosexuals attacking them relentlessly over a practice he considers repugnant.

During the March presidential election, an embattled Mugabe, facing criticism from Britain and other western nations, turned the heat on Blair calling him a "gay gangster" and blasting him for having homosexuals in his cabinet.

At many of his country-wide rallies Mugabe actually boasted that his own cabinet was full of amadoda sibili (real men) who could distinguish between "Adam and Eve and Adam and Steve." Little did the veteran politician—whom critics say has lost his grip on his beleaguered administration to young opportunists handpicked for his government in July 2000—realise that hardly two months after the presidential poll one of his worst nightmares would become a reality—one of his right hand men would be accused of involvement in a homosexual relationship.

Testifying in the High Court last month, MDC legislator Job Sikhala said he had heard of a rumoured homosexual relationship between Moyo and Alum Mpofu, the disgraced former chief executive of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), while the two were still in South Africa.

At that time of the alleged affair, Moyo was a lecturer at the Witwatersrand University while Mpofu was a researcher at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Moyo, however, dismissed the allegations as mischievous saying he had only come to know Mpofu when he attended an interview at the ZBC last year.

"Mugabe’s order leaves no sacred cows. Everyone in government from junior ministers like Jonathan Moyo to vice president Simon Muzenda is under the microscope. It is clear that anyone who is caught on the wrong side will go. Mugabe is uncompromising on that matter," he said.

Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity told The Standard that the position of the party on the matter of homosexuals was clear.

"Our position is very clear. It has been spelt out by the president and the central committee on several occasions," said Shamuyarira who however said he was not aware of a witch hunt in government.

Last month, MPs from both Zanu PF and MDC called for a probe into allegations of homosexual tendencies said to be prevalent at the state-run broadcaster.

The allegations surfaced when Mpofu, whose appointment to the ZBC had been sanctioned by Mugabe, following a recommendation by Moyo, was caught in a lewd act with another man at Tipperary’s night club in Harare. Mpofu resigned in disgrace a few days later following the publication of the scandal in The Standard.

A month later, a disc jockey with 3FM, Kevin Ncube, was fired from ZBC after a man claimed he had tried to sodomise him. Ncube is still to face trial.

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