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Botswana and Zimbabwe may be en route to the decriminalization of homosexuality

Soon as friendly as South Africa (see poster), Botswana and Zimbabwe? © MediaClubSouthAfrica.com / Chris Kirchhoff.

(Blogmensgo, October 26, 2011) Festus Mogae and Morgan Tsvangirai, respectively former Botswana President and current Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, have recently made comments calling for decriminalization of homosexuality in their respective countries.

Very involved in the fight against AIDS, Festus Mogae chairs the National AIDS Council, a public body under the supervision of the National Coordinating Agency against AIDS (NACA). He called on 19 October 2011, the decriminalization of homosexuality and prostitution, and condom distribution in prisons.

This triple action is necessary to strengthen the fight against HIV / AIDS, said Mogae, who is said to be exclusively heterosexual. But homosexuals are "citizens" like any other and should not be stigmatized for what they are, insists the former head of state.

Botswana has embarked on a program 2010-2016 (PDF here) whose objective is "zero new infections by 2016." The prevalence of HIV / AIDS reached a rate of 17% in Botswana.

The Botswana government is currently consulting to determine if it is necessary to amend the legislation to achieve this ambitious goal. In the meantime, no action is to decriminalize the agenda.

The decriminalization of homosexuality is not in the agenda in neighboring Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe has been once distinguished by extremely homophobic virulence. His prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, will however introduce a right to "freedom of sexual orientation" in the Constitution to be submitted to referendum in 2012.

"For me, this is a human right," said Tsvangirai on October 24, 2011, breaking with previous statements that were strongly homophobic. He also claims he will be an advocate for gay rights if he becomes president. Tsvangirai, 59, intends to succeed the immovable Mugabe, 87, who chairs the Zimbabwe government since 1987. The two men hate each other.

Morgan Tsvangirai leads the MDCT, said about his support for gay-friendly of its leader.

Mugabe says that gays and lesbians are "worse than dogs and pigs." In 2010, Tsvangirai announced that he is "totally agree with the president" on LGBT issues.

This article has been translated from our French language Blog, to view the original article, please click here.

Philca & Matt / MensGo

Via BBC News, Slate Afrique, Zim online and The Herald.


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