Fears of continued oppression on LGBTI people in Zimbabwe have risen following the nation’s Chief of the Army urging his soldiers to combat against the western homosexuality threat.
Speaking at a local Culture Day celebration in Bulawayo, the Zimbabwe National Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda called on over 1,000 of his graduating recruits to defend the nation’s culture.
“A people without a culture are indeed a people without a soul,” he claimed, speaking out against cultural imperialism, including “contemporary trends in which social media has become a dominant phenomenon… posing a threat of loss of identity for people in the developing world.”
According to reports from local media including state-owned The Herald, Sibanda claimed that homosexuality was among a number of “dehumanising practices” that he worried was spreading into African countries, including Zimbabwe.
“Such practices are brought into our communities in the name of civilisation, which is a shame to our people,” Sibanda stated. “We should all guard against foreign domination of our minds so as to effectively defend our norms and values.”
Much like Zimbabwe’s homophobic ruler of 37 years, Robert Mugabe, African leaders have often articulated the belief that homosexuality is not a natural aspect of human sexuality but instead a Western “practice” that is being imposed on Africa for nefarious reasons.
Despite claiming to promote equality and civil liberties, Zimbabwe’s revised 2013 Constitution bans same-sex marriage and hosts Laws which criminalise homosexuality, with penalties of up to three years in jail.