A female member of parliament in Zimbabwe has been arrested after suggesting the president, Robert Mugabe, is gay, according to Kenya’s Daily Nation.
Lillian Kirenyi is a member of the Movement for Democratic Change, led by the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which currently shares power with Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
She reportedly said: “Zanu PF members been attacking MDC president Tsvangirai alleging he is pro-homosexuals yet Robert Mugabe has practiced homosexuality with Jonathan Moyo and Canaan Banana.”
Jonathan Moyo is a former Information Minister for the African state, and Canaan Banana was the country’s first president in the 1980s.
Banana, who died in 2003, was convicted by a Zimbabwean court of eleven sodomy charges following allegations he had used his presidential powers to coerce men into sexual relations.
After the 1997 ruling, Banana served six months of a ten year suspended sentence in an open prison.
The debate on homosexuality has been reignited in Zimbabwe after the UK government’s announcement that it will redirect aid away from central governments which do not recognise gay rights, and the country’s rewriting of its constitution.
But, speaking to BBC News in October, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said gay rights were a “human right” that should be respected by Zimbabweans.
“It’s a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody.”