HARARA, Zimbabwe — Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has urged traditional chiefs to banish “people who support homosexuality” from their communities and take away their land.
The ZANU PF MP was addressing villagers in Lupane who had come to witness the installation of Chief Mabhikwa Khumalo last Thursday.
“The chiefs are there to protect and promote our cultural values and those who support same sex marriages must be banished from the communities and be dispossessed of their land. What kind of madness is this that when we have beautiful women in our country some people want to marry other men,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemned the remarks saying: “Such utterances will give rise to an increase in incidents of harassment, persecution, as well as unlawful arbitrary evictions and seizure of property,” all of which violate national, regional and international human rights.
The lawyers said: “Chombo’s appetite for forced evictions, especially in the month of May, is reminiscent of the scorched earth programme of Operation Murambatsvina which had far-reaching consequences on a large portion of the Zimbabwean population.”
In 2005 Mugabe’s regime sanctioned a large scale campaign to forcibly clear so-called slum areas and ‘illegally’ built structures across the country. According to United Nations estimates over 700,000 people were affected directly through loss of their homes or livelihoods, while a another 2,4 million were affected indirectly.
The ZLHR say the latest remarks by Chombo underline the blatant disrespect for the rule of law and “the lack of sincerity by a minister from a political party which pretends to support economic and social justice.” Almost 7 years after Operation Murambatsvina some victims still live in plastic shacks without basic services.
“Chombo should be ashamed of his, and the government’s failure to provide adequate alternative accommodation and/or compensation to those people who were left homeless and jobless almost 7 years ago,” the lawyers group said.