Zimbabwe opposition leader: ‘I won’t persecute gays’
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has said he will not persecute gay people, if his party wins the upcoming election.
The Movement for Democratic change leader said that although he doesn’t accept homosexuality, he will not interfere with the freedom to be gay.
In a briefing to journalists on Friday, he said that the freedom to identify as LGB was enshrined in the constitution.
“I will not stand to persecute gays,” he told journalists.
“I know that in our society gays are shunned and as far as I am concerned I am not gay, I don’t support gays.
“I only want to say that I will not persecute or prosecute gays because in the constitution they are given that right.”
Previously, current President, Robert Mugabe, said he would not accept any aid deal if it meant that his country had to accept gay rights.
In a speech, he said: “If aid, as I understand, is to be given on the basis that we accept the principle of gay marriages, then let that aid stay where it is.
“We don’t want it. It is rotten aid, filthy aid and we won’t have anything to do with it.”
It’s understood that Zimbabwe had applied for around $1.6 billion of support, with no aid organisation demanding such a condition be met.
Having ruled the country since its independence with Britain in 1980, the Zanu-PF leader has continually attacked LGBT people, likening the community to a “white disease”.
He also told the UN General Assembly that “we are not gay”, when making a speech there in September last year.