Zimbabwe’s Vice President Threatens to Ban LGBTQ+ Scholarship

Human rights groups condemn the vice president’s statement as a violation of the rights and dignity of sexual and gender minorities.

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s vice president, Constantino Chiwenga, has issued a stern warning to a local LGBTQ+ organization that offers a university scholarship for young people who identify as sexual and gender minorities. Chiwenga said the government will not allow such a scholarship to be distributed and will take measures to enforce the country’s anti-gay laws.

The scholarship, sponsored by GALZ, a membership organization for LGBTQ+ people in Zimbabwe, aims to provide equal access to state universities for LGBTQ+ students who often face discrimination and financial challenges. GALZ has been offering the scholarship since 2018 without any problems, but a recent online advertisement inviting applications sparked a harsh response from Chiwenga, a self-proclaimed devout Catholic and former army commander.

In a strongly worded statement on Thursday night, Chiwenga claimed the scholarship was “a direct challenge” to the government’s authority and a violation of the national values and ethos of Zimbabwe as a Christian nation. He said the scholarship was based on “alien, anti-life, un-African and un-Christian values” that are promoted and practiced in “decadent societies” with whom Zimbabwe has no moral or cultural affinities.

He added that the government “will not hesitate to take appropriate measures to enforce national laws” and urged young people “to never be tempted to trade or sell their souls for such abominable and devilish offers.”

Zimbabwe is one of several African countries where homosexuality is a criminally punishable offense. Sex between men carries a potential sentence of up to a year in prison, and the country’s constitution bans same-sex marriages. Zimbabwe also has a history of discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer people, dating back to the era of former President Robert Mugabe, who once described them as “worse than dogs and pigs” and unworthy of legal rights.

GALZ did not comment on the vice president’s statement, but a coalition of human rights groups that GALZ belongs to said it demonstrated that sexual and gender minorities are endangered in Zimbabwe. Wilbert Mandinde, the programs coordinator at Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, told The Associated Press on Friday that the statement was “intolerant” and “ignorant” of the realities and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people in the country.

He said the scholarship was a legitimate and noble initiative that opened up opportunities for young people who are often marginalized and excluded from education and other services. He also said that the scholarship did not promote or cultivate any values, but rather respected the diversity and dignity of human beings.

Mandinde called on the government to respect the rights of LGBTQ+ people and to engage in dialogue with civil society organizations to address the issues of stigma, discrimination, and violence that they face. He also urged the international community to condemn the vice president’s statement and to support the efforts of LGBTQ+ activists in Zimbabwe.

The vice president’s threat to ban the scholarship comes amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and legislation in some African countries, such as Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana, where LGBTQ+ people face harassment, arrest, and violence. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, only 22 out of 54 African countries have legal protections for LGBTQ+ people, while 32 criminalize consensual same-sex conduct.

Source: MSN


You may also like

white logo with motto

The Zimbabwe Advocate is more than just a news outlet. We are a movement, a symbol of resistance against misinformation.

Latest News

© 2024 The Zimbabwe Advocate. All Rights Reserved.