An act of blackmail, or extortion (as it is referred to in legal terms) is making an unwarranted demand with menaces with a view to gain or to cause a loss: in other words, it is threatening to discredit one or more people by revealing damaging information about them unless they make it worth your while not to do so. Blackmail is a particular problem for homosexuals in Zimbabwe where government leaders have whipped up a hysterical climate of homophobia and have even encouraged people to make citizens arrests of ‘gays’ should they see them in the streets.
Galz and the Law
There is a common misconception amongst many Zimbabweans that it is illegal to be homosexual in Zimbabwe. This is a myth since it is not possible to legislate against what people think, only against what people express or do. Nevertheless, with ordinary Zimbabweans and law enforcers being given carte blanche by national leaders to arrest homosexuals on the streets, many LGBTI people in Zimbabwe live in fear of blackmail and being arrested for consensual sexual acts. GALZ has successfully provided legal assistance to many members who have been victims of state harassment or extortion.