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African Leaders Attack Gays,
Ignoring Wars, Disease

Compiled By GayToday

mugabe.gif - 11.65 K Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe
In spite of their wars often waged against neighboring states as well as their spiraling national debts and the growth of the death-dealing AIDS virus, the presidents of Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda are nevertheless agreed that the real enemy in each of their nations is homosexuality

Making scapegoats of gay men and lesbians in order to draw public attention away from authentic problems, Kenya's president, Daniel arap Moi, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe have, in a manner resembling Hitler's attacks against Jewish citizens, called on their populaces to harbor hate, and are making vicious attacks on same-sex love.

The presidents are calling homosexuality an abomination-import derived from whites who had earlier colonized their lands. Shona, however, a major African language in Zimbabwe, has had a word for homosexual--ngochani – that predated the arrival of the first whites.

Keith Goddard, who directs Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), knows, he says, that gay men and lesbians have always existed in Africa. What is different now, he contends, is that homosexuals are publicly identifying themselves as such and asking for equal rights.

"Same-sex activity has always happened here. It's the organizing around the identity of being gay that is new," he explains. "That's what these presidents are objecting to. They see it as some kind of threat."

In other parts of the continent, some males have long lived as women, finding male "husbands". Because they did not challenge the superiority of male roles, their behavior was not regarded as a challenge to the patriarchal order.

kenyapresident.jpg - 9.10 K Kenya President
Daniel arap Moi
The latest anti-gay outburst came from Kenya's president, Daniel arap Moi, who labeled homosexuality a "scourge".

"It is not right that a man should go with another man, or a woman with another woman. It is against African tradition and biblical teachings. I will not shy from warning Kenyans against the dangers," he said.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda ordered his police to round up gays after an "illegal" same-sex wedding.

"I have told the CID to look for homosexuals, lock them up and charge them," President Museveni announced. "The Bible spells it out clearly that God created Adam and Eve as wife and husband, but not men to marry men."

Gay males and lesbians continue remain hopeful, although arbitrary round-ups and abuses are already taking place.

Five years ago Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe called gays worse than dogs and banned GALZ from an international book fair in Harare.

"Homosexuality is against all the norms of African society and culture. We don't believe they have any rights at all…Let them be gay in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. They shall be sad people here."

GALZ says its mostly black members have been inspired to action by those constitutional rights to equality now guaranteed by South Africa's constitution.

Goddard said: "South Africa has been an incredible inspiration to us… We're quite heavily involved in the constitutional debate in Zimbabwe.

"In the draft constitution there's a sexual orientation clause, but I cannot for one minute imagine that the No. 1 homophobe in the world will allow it into his new constitution. You can see it in the state media, which says all Zimbabweans want gays to be deported and hanged."

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
South African High Court Strikes Down Sex Bans

Kenyan President Denounces Gays and Lesbians

Zambian Gays Organize

Related Sites:
Gays & Lesbians of Zimbabwe

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Prejudiced Anglican African clergymen, meeting at last year's Lambeth conference, spearheaded the taking of anti-gay positions

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