Zimbabwean head of state Robert Mugabe has established himself over the past few years as a strident, near-hysterical voice of bigotry and irrationality in his campaign against the human dignity of his gay, lesbian and bisexual compatriots. First his government’s goons clamped down on intellectual and cultural freedom by ordering Gays And Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) kicked out of the 1995 Zimbabwe International Book Fair. Then he further sullied his image by calling homosexuals “sodomists and sexual perverts” who had no human rights at all.
Well, GALZ won the right to be reinstated at the book fair, but Mugabe’s stream of foul-mouthed abuse continued and incited fellow politician Michael Mawema to call for a public crusade to castrate or to lynch people convicted of “sexual crimes”, in other words, healthy, consensual adult love and affection.
GALZ activist Keith Goddard is currently being maliciously prosecuted by the Zimbabwean government for exercising exactly this right. Gay and lesbian rights are not special rights. They are an inextricable part of normal human rights. An injury to any homosexual person is an injury to every person. Southern Africans of all sexual persuasions have stood together in class solidarity against Mugabe’s outrageous police state tactics. Workers’ Solidarity Federation, a majority black directly democratic, radical, working class organisation, fully supports the global condemnation of Mugabe’s gay-bashing.
WE DEMAND: an end to vicious hate talk from Mugabe and his cronies!
WE DEMAND: an end to the unethical court case against Keith Goddard and the persecution of his comrades.
WE DEMAND: that South Africa and the other nations of the Non-Aligned Movement publicly condemn the Zimbabwean government’s fascist attitude.
WE DEMAND: a boycott of Zimbabwean produce and that the NAM nations apply economic sanctions against Zimbabwe until it is brought in line with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
ISSUED BY: Workers’ Solidarity Federation (Durban section), 29 August 1998
The above a leaflet was produced in Durban at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. It was issued at a gay rights protest against Zimbabwe’s strong man, Mugabe, who is not only anti-worker in general, but an oppressor of gay rights as well.