Zimbabwe’s Constitution Select Committee (Copac) has stated that gay rights will not be included in the new constitution and that they will not enter into debate or discussion over the issue.

Copac chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said that homosexuality was against the ethics and morals of his nation and that any outreach work the body was involved in would not involve discussion of the subject. He added that it was paramount for Zimbabwe to concentrate on development and not on “weird Western cultures”.

Mr Mangwana stated: “Zimbabwe, as a nation, is guided by traditional morals and we cannot go to our communities and seek views on the necessity of such inhuman practices.”

However, some pressure groups have been reportedly lobbying sections of the inclusive goverment to include gay rights in the new constitution, but Mr Mangwana was adamant that such notions would not be entertained.

Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are openly and adamantly homophobic, Mr Mugabe once stating that gay people were “worse than pigs and dogs”.

Homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries. In Zimbabwe’s neighbouring nation, South Africa, gay rights have been enshrined in the constitution since 1994.