A man in Zimbabwe has reportedly been acquitted of stabbing a man who he says is gay.

Zimbabwe’s Daily News reports Bongani Phiri, 22, was acquitted by a court in Bulawayo, the second largest city in the country after the capital Harare.

It was claimed Mr Phiri, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, indicated during his defence that he was constantly being nagged and harassed by the complainant Walter Kwanele Ndlovu over a relationship.

Regional magistrate Sikhumbuzo Nyathi cited inconsistencies and contradictions put forward by the State and that of the witnesses in the evidence.

Mr Nyathi said he was not satisfied that Mr Phiri had an intention to kill when he committed the alleged stabbing on 26 October last year.

The two engaged in an argument after Mr Phiri accused Mr Ndlovu of being gay, official papers claimed.

Mr Ndlovu required treatment in hospital for a stab wound to his chest.

In his judgment, magistrate Nyathi also alluded to Zimbabwe’s tough stance against homosexuality, as a reason why the defendant should be found not guilty.

The magistrate said: “In Zimbabwe, the issue of homosexuality is a controversial one to such extent that it has drawn into the fray, the highest office in the country. Some people are known to hold strong views on homosexuality”.

Earlier this month, two gay rights campaigners in Zimbabwe were arrested for allegedly convening a public meeting without authorisation.

Raids against activists are common in the country, which is notorious for its tough laws against same-sex sexuality and the homophobic rhetoric of President Robert Mugabe.