In Harare, Zimbabwe, Acting President Constantino Chiwenga issued a stern warning to a gay and lesbian advocacy group on Thursday for providing university scholarships to disadvantaged students. Chiwenga, standing in for President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is abroad, characterized the LGBTQ community as “alien, anti-life, un-African, and un-Christian.”

He criticized the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) for their scholarship initiative, urging young Zimbabweans to reject their offers. Chiwenga accused the group of attempting to lure underprivileged youths into LGBTQ activities to serve foreign interests.

Asserting that such scholarships challenge the government’s authority, Chiwenga vowed to enforce national laws and safeguard national values. There has been no response from President Mnangagwa, currently in Dubai, regarding Chiwenga’s statement or its authorization.

GALZ, an association of LGBTQ+ in Zimbabwe, describes itself as a society that has been working to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI people as equal citizens in Zimbabwe since 1990. The Universitas has been offering scholarships to queer Zimbabweans since 2018. 

 They are yet to give a reaction to the VP’s discriminatory remarks.

The Rising Anti-Gay Campaign in Africa

Two years ago, the former Kenyan Ministry of Education implemented a ban on LGBTQ+ students in schools. Bold Network Africa protested alongside the Queer Republic, the organizers of the campaign #QueerKidsDeserveEducation, submitting a petition, which was received by the ministry in the absence of the minister. Unfortunately, no action was taken in response. After the Supreme Court ruling on upholding freedom of association for LGBTQ+ groups, a Family Protection bill was proposed and presented to the parliament floor. This bill would enforce similar harshest laws similar to Uganda’s.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed into law one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws in May, including the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”. The law allows for life imprisonment for certain offences involving same-sex intercourse, 20-year sentences for “promotion of homosexuality” and up to 10 years for attempting to commit same-sex acts.

In Ghana and Uganda, efforts to combat draconian colonial laws targeting LGBTQ+ individuals are facing challenges. Ugandan activists filed a lawsuit that was heard on December 11th challenging the legality of the anti-gay law.

Ghana’s Afenyo-Markin, the deputy leader of the ruling party in parliament, expressed support for amending aspects of the legislation. He emphasized the need for reform-minded and humane approaches, stating that imprisonment would not effectively address what he termed a “behavioural problem.”


Amid these setbacks and harmful rhetoric, Africa has seen progress in countries like Mauritius, Algeria, Botswana, and Namibia pushing back these colonial anti-gay laws and decriming same-sex unions.

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