Africa

Mixed reaction to scrapping of anti-gay law in Mozambique

Mozambique

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MAPUTO, Mozambique — Mozambicans on Friday reacted cautiously to the government’s decision to do away with a colonial-era anti-gay law.

The southern African nation was now “on the right side of the history of humanity,” said LAMBDA, a Mozambican LGBT rights group.

While no one has been prosecuted under the law in the 40 years since Mozambique’s independence, LGBT Mozambicans still faced prejudice, LAMBDA said in a statement. The rights group said it has been waiting eight years to be recognized as a legal association by the country’s justice ministry.

Earlier this week, Mozambique scrapped a colonial Portuguese law demanding “security measures to be taken against anyone practicing vices against nature.” The move is seen as part of the more liberal social stance of recently elected President Filipe Nyusi.

Mozambicans had mixed reactions, with some saying it is important to recognize human rights while others said homosexuality goes against African culture.

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“The world is getting crazy. Africans are very weak in preserving their culture. They think that everything a white man does is marvelous,” said Thomas Johannes, an official from the ruling Frelimo party in the northern Nampula province.

“Africans are not prepared for this type of society and life,” said Jose Tembe, a journalists working for Radio Mozambique, adding that families rejecting their gay children could be “a catastrophe.”

“All Mozambicans have freedom of expression, of forming a party or association, of doing anything he or she wants. So what is the problem of lifting the gay law?” asked Ana Maria Sambo, a high school teacher in the capital Maputo.

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