Vandalised ... Graffiti sprayed on GALZ wall on June 9, 2024, denouncing homosexuals

HARARE – A small group of protesters claiming to be representing various churches sprayed graffiti on the perimeter wall outside the offices of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) on Sunday, and sang songs denouncing homosexuals.

The group, made up of about a dozen men and women, wrote ‘Say No’ and ‘Down with Homosexuals’ on the wall and gate of GALZ’s Milton Park offices in Harare.

The incident which happened at around 3PM has been reported to the police, GALZ said.

In a statement, the association of LGBTI people in Zimbabwe said: “A group of individuals claiming to represent various Christian churches descended on our Harare centre chanting slogans against homosexuality. They proceeded to vandalise property, painting hurtful graffiti on the walls.

“While we respect differences in values, it is utterly unacceptable to deploy acts of vandalism and intimidation against communities who hod different values.”

GALZ said police had been called as it urged authorities to “hold the perpetrators accountable for these criminal actions.”

“This act of violence has not been committed in isolation, it is a stark reminder of the ongoing discrimination and hostility that our community faces. We urge religious and political leaders to condemn such acts and uphold the constitutional rights and freedoms of all citizens to be protected by law regardless of their diverse backgrounds including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,” the group said.

Zimbabwe’s constitution adopted in 2013 prohibits same-sex marriage but is silent on gay relations.

Laws criminalising gay sex in carry penalties of up to three years in jail, and police have been known to arrest gays, then set them free without bringing charges.

Targeted … Vandalised signage at the Harare offices of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe

In a 2018 interview, President Emmerson Mnangagwa – when asked if would protect the rights of gays – said he would not give them any special treatment but would be guided by the constitution.

He added: “Those people who want it are the people who should canvass for it, but it’s not my duty to campaign for this. In our constitution, it is banned — and it is my duty to obey my constitution. With regard to areas that we felt we would not accept, it is issues of gays and homosexuality, which is unlawful in our country. We rejected all those.

“There are a few countries from Europe, which recommended we reconsider our position with regard to adults of the same sex marrying each other — that we rejected.” — ZimLive

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