Zimbabwe LGBTIQ+ sector statement on the cancellation of Somizi Mhlongo’s visit to Zimbabwe.
We are an association of organisations protecting, promoting and representing the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Zimbabwe.
Yes, we exist.
We do not have a relationship with Somizi Mhlongo or the event organizers, but have observed the shameful conversations and conduct around the planned reopening of Garwe Restaurant, where Somizi was invited in his capacity as a celebrity chef. While we do not condone allegations against him in his personal affairs, we acknowledge that Somizi Mhlongo lives an authentic life openly as a gay man, and public figure, who enjoys a following across Africa and even, in Zimbabwe. The major issue noted is the act by specific organisations to erroneously represent the views of all Zimbabweans; a country that has a sizeable LGBTIQ+ population.
The Development Agenda of Zimbabwe should be of benefit of all citizens, where the actions of certain groups seem to result in negative effects that stall private enterprise, interfere with the right to associate and push draconian legal premise without encouraging healthy public debate. Some political parties and religious groups also seem to forget that other evils such as xenophobia subsequently become justifiable to some when stigma and discrimination are allowed to thrive.
The sector highlights subsequently the Immigration Act (2000) particularly Section 14 of which requires review by the public and law makers.
The Act, which is incredulously labelled as ‘revised’ uses language such as ‘defective’ to describe mental health conditions, refuses entry to among others, epileptic persons, sex workers and persons with physical disabilities subject to certain provisions which are left to the interpretation of Immigration officials. This law requires urgent revision.
We encourage all Zimbabweans to assess situations critically separate from the bounds of supposed homogenous ‘morality’ culture and check the quality of news content they consume.
“We the people of Zimbabwe, United in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression…”
– Preamble to The Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013)