Minority groups appeal to COPAC

A group of Zimbabweans has written a letter of complaint to the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee over the rights of minority groups – especially gays and lesbians, which it said were being threatened by Zanu (PF).

Zimbabwe is in the process of penning a new charter which, if passed, is expected to restore majority rule in the country and protect fundamental freedom. However, the group, calling itself “Concerned Zimbabweans”, recently wrote a letter to COPAC co-chairs, Paul Mangwana, Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi –Moyo, raising its misgivings with the new constitution, which is yet to go to a referendum.

The group said that it was “greatly worried about rights of some minority groups, which we note are about to be trampled simply because they are in the minority”. It said that, if unchecked, there was the potential for seeds of intolerance to be sown in society.

“Those who hold divergent views about certain aspects in life risk being stoned to death like what used to happen in ancient Greece,” said the group in a letter that was signed by its spokesperson, Freedom Mazwi, a human rights campaigner.

The group said that it was worried by statements attributed to some senior members of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party, especially regarding the issue of gays and lesbians.

“We speak on their behalf (Gays and Lesbians) because we are aware that they are afraid of coming out in the open because of the nature of our society,” added the group.

The group said that, in its view, gays and lesbians were a minority that deserved the care and attention of the government of the day.

The group also called for an end to child sexual abuse, gender-based violence, rape, the death penalty and politically-motivated violence.

“Zimbabwe is for all, regardless of race, culture, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Let us protect the minority groups, even those that we did not mention here and we would like to re-emphasize that the current constitutional process should not be a platform for campaigning by political parties.”

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