Lillian Kirenyi, Zimbabwe Parliament Member, Jailed For Calling President Robert Mugabe Gay
Lillian Kirenyi, a member of Zimbabwe's parliament, has been arrested for allegedly calling President Robert Mugabe gay.
As the Daily Nation is reporting, Kirenyi is quoted as saying, "Zanu PF [President Mugabe's party] members been attacking MDC president [Prime Minister Morgan] Tsvangirai alleging he is pro-homosexuals yet Robert Mugabe has practiced homosexuality with [Professor] Jonathan Moyo [former Information minister] and Canaan Banana [Zimbabwe’s first ceremonial president]."
Kirenyi was on Tuesday charged with undermining the authority of President Mugabe and is currently being held without bail, according to reports. The late Banana, who died in 2003, was jailed in 1999 after being found guilty of 11 counts of sodomy and abusing his power to engage in "unnatural acts" with men, including many who were on his presidential staff, The Guardian reported.
Known for a notoriously hostile stance on his nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population, Mugabe has in recent weeks said that gay people will be punished for their behavior in accordance with "African and Christian values" and criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron for urging African states to decriminalize homosexuality.
Earlier this year, Tsvangirai came under fire after proclaiming that he wanted to see LGBT rights protected in the nation's new constitution. "As long as it doesn't interfere with anybody, who am I to define what individual [one's] opinion is going to be as far as their sexual preferences are concerned? To me, it's a human right," he told the BBC in October. At the time, Tsvangirai's spokesman was quick to clarify that the prime minister "still believes that the issue of homosexuality is alien in Africa," according to the AFP.
Last year, two gay rights activists in Zimbabwe claimed to have been abused and tortured after six days in police custody, after being accused accused of possessing pornographic material and insulting Mugabe, The Guardian reports.