The Zimbabwean LGBT community has been plunged into fearful uncertainty by news that President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party intends to make changes to the new Zimbabwean constitution.
In March, the new constitution won overwhelming support in a referendum. It had taken four years to build, owing to haggling and political bickering between Zanu PF and its main rival, the MDC T party.
But last week Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is a member of Mugabe’s politburo, reportedly said the document will need a “cleaning up.”
The ruling party will make minor changes to the Constitution, having won the two-thirds legislative majority it needs to do so, Chinamasa said, as reported in the South African business publication MoneyWeb. Citizenship laws won’t be altered but security reform will be halted, he said.
The idea of the constitution being amended has once again provoked fear and uncertainty amongst LGBT people, who are concerned that Zanu PF may tighten laws on homosexuality. Mugabe’s recent spate of homophobic diatribes and threats to “behead” homosexuals and stiffen laws against homosexuality has exacerbated the situation. The new constitution already criminalises same-sex marriage [Section 78 (3)].
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