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Zimbabwe's Chinamasa attacks Tsvangirai on gay rights  Jupiter Punungwe
 Oct 25, 2011 09:12 PDT 

It looks like Zanu-PF is having a field day over Tsvangirai's u-turn on
gay rights. You can't blame them. When something is handed to you on a
silver plate, why not take it.



Zimbabwe's Chinamasa attacks Tsvangirai on gay rights
Patrick Chinamasa (April 2008)Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa is in a
bitterly divided coalition government
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Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has rejected calls by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to enshrine gay rights in a new

Mr Chinamasa told the BBC that gay rights could not be "smuggled" into
the constitution because most Zimbabweans opposed it.

Earlier, Mr Tsvangirai told the BBC that gay rights were a "human right"
that should be respected.

Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Chinamasa are from rival parties in a fractious

Their parties - the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF
respectively - are drafting a new constitution, which will be put to a
referendum ahead of elections next year.
'Tsvangirai propaganda'

Homosexual is currently illegal in Zimbabwe, as in most African
countries where many people view gay rights as un-Christian and un-African.

Last year, Mr Tsvangirai said "the ancestors would turn in their graves"
if gay rights became enshrined in a new constitution.
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"Start Quote

     We all know what people said about gay rights - it's a total no; an
almost 100% no"

Patrick ChinamasaJustice minister

But Mr Tsvangirai signalled a shift in policy in an interview with the
BBC's Newsnight programme.

"It's a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude
is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual
orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody," Mr
Tsvangirai said.

"To me, it's a human right."

In his reaction, Mr Chinamasa said Zimbabweans had firmly rejected gay
rights when they were consulted on a new constitution during the
government's outreach programme.

"We all know what people said about gay rights - it's a total no; an
almost 100% no," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

Mr Chinamasa said Mr Tsvangirai made the comments for "propaganda"
purposes, contradicting the position he had adopted in the cabinet.

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in gay rights U-turn

"We can't smuggle [into the constitution] the views of a prime minister
who wants to please a certain audience basically, I suppose, to mobilise
resources for his party."

"I know personally he doesn't believe it. He has said so many times in
the cabinet," Mr Chinamasa told Network Africa.

The election due next year will be the first since the MDC and Zanu-PF -
led by President Robert Mugabe - formed a unity government after polls
in 2008.

Those elections were marred by widespread violence and rigging, with Mr
Tsvangirai boycotting a run-off vote.

The coalition - formed under pressure from regional leaders - has
stabilised the country, but tension has been rising ahead of next year's

The two parties are yet to agree on political and security reforms to
guarantee a free and fair poll.
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