II. THE SPREAD OF HOMOPHOBIC RHETORIC IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
This chapter identifies the leaders who helped, and some who hindered, the spread of homophobia in southern Africa-and records the words they used to do it. The rest of this report explores the consequences.
A. Zimbabwe: From Book Fair to Book Burning
It started with a celebration. On August 1, 1995, the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) opened in Harare. In the twelve years of its existence, the event had become a centerpiece of African intellectual life, an opportunity for writers, critics, and publishers across the continent to converse. The theme of the 1995 fair was "Human rights and justice."
More was inaugurated than the fair itself. A campaign of intolerance began which has continued for over seven years.
On July 24, the fair's organizers-an independent trust-had received a letter from a government official condemning the decision to allot a booth to a small human rights organization called Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ). "The Government strongly objects to the presence of the GALZ stand at the Book Fair which has the effect of giving acceptance and legitimacy to GALZ," the letter read. "Whilst acknowledging the dynamic nature of culture, the fact still remains that both Zimbabwean society and government do not accept the public display of homosexual literature and material.... In the interest of continued cooperation with the Government, please, withdraw the participation of GALZ at this public event."1
The panicked trustees asked GALZ to remove itself voluntarily from the book fair; the organization refused. Founded in 1989, GALZ had served to network and support a small, closeted community of self-identified gays and lesbians. Initially most of its membership was white; now it was trying to reach out to a broader community. This meant raising its public profile. GALZ had hoped the fair would be a chance to do so safely, by distributing information about its own work, about homosexuality, and about human rights.
As the fair trustees later explained, they "were faced with a very difficult and painful decision ... we had to face not only withdrawal of state participation and support but also the very real possibility of further state action or disruption of the fair itself. With great reluctance and acting under severe constraint, we withdraw acceptance of GALZ's participation."2
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, opened the book fair on August 1. The censorship had already drawn outrage from some prominent participants. Nonetheless, Mugabe made it the major theme of his speech. He painted homosexuals as people who flaunted their sexual conduct shamelessly; he effectively identified the book fair stand as a public sexual act. "Human Rights and Justice," said Mugabe, was an issue which
has occupied the attention of the governments and people throughout the world in increasing measure over the past decade ... My government is committed to the respect of human rights, and striking a practical balance among the rights of the majority versus those of minorities and the individual....
Freedom, however, is not a selfish, one way street..... The greater the freedom one enjoys, the greater the responsibility one owes the community which bestows that freedom....
Let me give an obvious example of a taboo here, but one which is universally recognized. While, between a married couple, sexual relations are not only permissible but expected, such relations should, however, never be seen to occur in public, for example in streets or public parks. No married couple could be heard to argue that because they have a legal right to practice sex, they can do so anywhere. This is because we all accept that the intimate nature of such relations demands privacy.
Supposing those persons who believe that the denial of their alleged rights to have sex in public is a violation of their human rights formed an association in defence and protection of it and proceeded to write booklets and other forms of literature on the subject of their rights. Is any sane government which is a protector of society's moral values expected to countenance their accessions?
I find it extremely outrageous and repugnant to my human conscience that such immoral and repulsive organisations, like those of homosexuals who offend both against the law of nature and the morals of religious beliefs espoused by our society, should have any advocates in our midst and even elsewhere in the world.
If we accept homosexuality as a right, as is being argued by the association of sodomists and sexual perverts, what moral fibre shall our society ever have to deny organised drug addicts, or even those given to bestiality, the rights they might claim and allege they possess under the rubric of individual freedom and human rights, including the freedom of the Press to write, publish and publicise their literature on them?3
Official homophobia was not new in Zimbabwe. Arrests had long happened, and GALZ members' apartments had been raided in recent years. Indeed, the state-sponsored press had, throughout 1994 and 1995, carried an increasing number of sensational articles about homosexuals; in one, the minister of home affairs stated, "We are going to arrest them. It is illegal in this country."4 Mugabe had already condemned homosexuality as "abominable and destructive" in a speech in early 1995.5
Mugabe, first elected in 1980 when Zimbabwe held its first all-race elections, was facing growing opposition by the late 1990s. To deflect criticism, he turned to the issue of land redistribution.6 He also increasingly blamed the country's affluent white minority for Zimbabwe's ills. Homosexuality, which the president had discovered galvanized press and public alike, became an additional tool for discrediting Zimbabwe's whites. (GALZ at the time was still a largely white organization, itself significantly hampered by internal racism. It became almost exclusively black in the following years, partly as a result of Mugabe's vilification-as gays and lesbians from high-density areas sought out the organization for support amid mounting community and family pressures, and as many whites left in fear of a government crackdown.) 7
In a stream of pronouncements Mugabe returned obsessively to the question of "homosexuals," "sodomists," and "perverts." "I don't believe they have any rights at all," he told reporters after his book fair speech.8 Less than two weeks later, speaking on a national holiday, he said that homosexuality "degrades human dignity. It's unnatural and there is no question ever of allowing these people to behave worse than dogs and pigs." He told his listeners, "What we are being persuaded to accept is sub-animal behaviour and we will never allow it here. If you see people parading themselves as lesbians and gays, arrest them and hand them over to the police."9 And when a group of U.S. members of Congress sent Mugabe a letter of protest, he told supporters of his ruling party ZANU-PF, "Let the Americans keep their sodomy, bestiality, stupid and foolish ways to themselves, out of Zimbabwe.... Let them be gay in the US, Europe and elsewhere.... They shall be sad people here." 10
Several notes Mugabe struck would be repeated again and again, by his supporters and by other politicians, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. There was the notion that rights have limits, that some people by definition cannot enjoy them-that the idea of a common human dignity is incompatible with preserving national or local particularity. If humanity could not be universal, though, the nation must be uniform: there was the question of cultural authenticity, the defense of an apparently cohesive and consensus-founded identity, either country- or continent-wide, against external invasion or internal differentiation. And there was the very question of terminology: who exactly were the enemies Mugabe combatted? Were they "gays and lesbians"; "homosexuals"; or, more archaically, "sodomists" or even practitioners of bestiality?
One Zimbabwean parliamentarian resorted to a-seemingly non-standard-dictionary in a subsequent debate:
I looked up a number of authorities and the sum total of all these definitions is this one. These homosexuals are people given to social pleasures. This is one definition. The second definition says these are people given to inordinate pleasure. The third definition describes them as licentious and this means morally rotten and promiscuous. The fourth definition describes them as lecherous, this means lewd, unchaste, base, and given to debauchery....
What is at issue in cultural terms is a conflict of interest between the whole body, which is the Zimbabwean community and part of that body represented by individuals or groups of individuals.-The whole body is more important than any single dispensable part. When your finger starts festering and becomes a danger to the body you cut it off. -The homosexuals are the festering finger.11
Controversies over GALZ's participation threatened to become a regular feature of the book fair. In 1996, GALZ again applied for a stand. The fair trustees promised to resist government pressure; the government promised not to apply it. A week before the fair began, however, the Ministry of Information announced a government order barring GALZ from appearing-"to protect and guarantee the cultural health of the country from possible erosion."12 The banning order did not actually appear in writing. GALZ therefore continued to plan on participating. However-anticipating how the Mugabe regime would deal with other political opponents in future-shadowy threats of mob action surfaced. A leader of a "student group" was quoted in the government press as saying,
We are ready to raze down the stands and go to jail. Our actions will be for a noble cause. We want to protect the values of our culture. The essence of the fair should be exhibiting what the country has achieved and can offer in literal arts, and absolutely not homosexuality.13
At a preliminary conference on national book policy, noisy demonstrators protested the book fair's trustees.14 Finally, the day before the fair opened, the chairman of the Board of Censors issued a hastily written order to the trustees, prohibiting GALZ from appearing, "based on 17(1) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act"-a provision allowing the state to ban any exhibition or entertainment which is "undesirable" or likely to cause "breaches of the peace, disorderly or immoral behavior." The order indicated that the trustees as well as GALZ members could be jailed if GALZ appeared.
The book fair trustees stated they would comply. However, GALZ rapidly sued the government, saying it was standing up "not just for gay rights but for the holistic principle of freedom of speech, which applies to all individuals and communities in this country."15 On the second day of the fair, the Harare High Court set aside the government's ban. The judge held that the government could not censor material without examining it first.16 GALZ had taken its stand in court. Now it took over its stand at the fair.
However, hostile crowds menaced the exhibition. According to a GALZ statement,
On the second public day ...GALZ was forcibly prevented from taking up its position at the Fair because a violent mob, led by Public Prosecutor Herbert Ushewokunze, descended on the GALZ stand. The Public Prosecutor stated that he and his followers represented "the People's Court" and that they "did not care about High Court Rulings." This provided concrete evidence of a direct link between government and the violence against GALZ.17
GALZ left its stand symbolically empty until the last day of the fair, when they took up a position at the margins of the exhibition ground-so as to be able to escape if violence recurred. It did: at mid-day, reports came that a mob was approaching the fair. GALZ members left; a small book burning followed. According to the organization, "The mob trashed the stand and tried to burn remnants of the literature around the stand."18
Other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were mixed in their responses to the GALZ controversies. When, in 1997, a Zimbabwean politician launched a campaign to have homosexuals whipped and castrated, a leader of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, a human rights group, spoke out against him.19 Others were more tepid.20 Indeed, the government adeptly used the issue to divide civil society. In 1997, GALZ joined the "Sixteen Days of Activism" campaign, a coalition of organizations drawing attention to rights violations against women. The state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation withdrew prime-time radio and T.V. programming it had offered the coalition, accusing it of being "a front for GALZ." Other members of the campaign distanced themselves from GALZ, saying the group "should first resolve its difficulties with government before involving itself in coalition business." GALZ eventually withdrew from the campaign.21
Many of Zimbabwe's churches joined in denouncing homosexuals. In 1996, campaigning for re-election-and for the votes of church members-Mugabe had specifically appealed to pastors to stand with him in condemning homosexuality.22
In 1998, the eighth general assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) was due to be held in Harare, a much-anticipated publicity opportunity for the regime. The assembly would include a "Padare" or public space for discussions and exhibitions by accredited groups and NGOs. GALZ applied to participate. Even two years before the assembly began, however, local churches made it clear they would oppose GALZ's presence. At a 1996 press conference announcing the upcoming assembly, Anglican Bishop Jonathan Siyachitema, president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)-the hosting organization-used the occasion to denounce homosexuality: "We are not going to allow, as a Christian body, gays in our council and destroy that which we cherish: our culture," he said.23 He added, "if people want to masquerade as homosexuals" at the assembly, "we declare that the law must take its course."24
Not all church members agreed. Ecumenical Support Services, a progressive lay body within the Anglican church, sponsored GALZ's application, and on that basis the WCC initially approved it.25 As word that GALZ might actually appear at the Padare spread, however, local churches mobilized against it. A group called Concerned Christians began circulating a petition to bar GALZ.26 Bishop Siyachitema again took to newspaper columns, stressing the opposition of the ZCC: "We feel that Zimbabweans should not be coerced into a practice that is alien to them."27 The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe said, "the WCC is putting us to shame, when our politicians are the ones who have to preach to the church that homosexuality is wrong."28 By July, over twenty Protestant churches had stated their objections. The press whipped up outrage. One writer declared, "Christianity the world over has been slowly accepting such evils like homosexuals in their denominations because Christian denominations are dividing themselves endlessly.... We expected their representatives to stand for justice, that is to represent the views of the majority of this country."29 A state newspaper editorialized that "the majority on a daily basis silently looks away to accommodate these sexual perverts as they go about their pastime. But for them to want to propagate their `faith' at conferences is stretching people's patience a bit too far."30
The WCC itself faced internal rifts on the issue of homosexuality. Some members, particularly in Europe and the United States, pressed for an open discussion of sexual diversity; many of these wished to move the assembly to another country, in response to Mugabe's rhetoric and human rights record. Other member churches, particularly Eastern Orthodox ones, were determined to exclude homosexuality from the assembly's agenda, threatening a boycott if the debate took place.31 The WCC was clearly unwilling to defend an embattled gay group, and in the end moved to eliminate GALZ's potentially divisive presence, which it knew would spur such a debate through publicity alone.32 It told GALZ that an endorsement from a lay institution was insufficient. To participate, it needed the support of a bona fide church.
No church in Zimbabwe, and none in neighboring South Africa, was willing to take up GALZ, in the face of the militant opposition of politicians and the ZCC. The organization was finally denied accreditation, though it was able to bring some members into the Padare under the auspices of a sympathetic human rights NGO.
"Animals in the jungle are better than these people because at least they know that this is a man or a woman," President Mugabe said in a 1998 speech.33 In the same speech Mugabe criticized the independent media: "In Britain you will never find a paper that speaks bad about that country; why then in Zimbabwe do we not adopt a common ideology?"34 Mugabe grew more and more dependent on his own stable of state-controlled media, and increasingly the work of harassing GALZ was left to them. The Herald and its sister paper, the Sunday Mail, both state-controlled, steadily tried to embarrass the NGO.
In May 1998, for example, the Sunday Mail published a front-page article accusing GALZ of running a brothel from its office, as well as showing pornographic videos. (At the time, GALZ was able to rent premises in a low-density area of Harare. There, it offered counselling services for people dealing with issues of sexuality and of HIV, along with a resource library and a social gathering-place.) The reporter, who claimed to have inside knowledge of GALZ's dealings, said the organization provided sex to foreigners, noting that "After one party I saw some tourists leaving the centre, accompanied by more than one teenager."35 According to Keith Goddard, GALZ's programmes manager, the reporter had earlier joined the organization undercover, with the mission of finding or fabricating a scandal to discredit GALZ.36
GALZ demanded, but never received, a retraction. Both the Herald and the Sunday Mail continued to amass accusations against the organization. One week later, the Sunday Mail alleged that GALZ members had made death threats against its reporters.37 Two weeks after that, it charged the "controversial organization" of holding "rowdy parties" featuring "public indecency."38 Other headlines proclaimed "Opposition mounts against gays, lesbians"39 and "Homosexuality is morally bankrupt."40
The allegations began at the same time Goddard was arrested on blatantly false charges of "sodomy" (described in Chapter III below)-and helped build animosity toward him and his work in the public mind. They also came as Canaan Banana, the former president of Zimbabwe and Mugabe's revolutionary comrade-in-arms, faced trial for "sodomy" as well, in a well-publicized scandal. (See Appendix, "Before the Law.") Goddard's arrest and the campaign against GALZ may have drawn attention away from the embarassing proximity of a "sodomite" to the present president
While the press continues to pursue GALZ, Mugabe has taken up grander themes. His concern has moved from the presence of homosexuals within Zimbabwe to visions of external coalitions against the country. Internationally isolated, he sees constellations of conspiratorial homosexuals opposing him.. These visions have multiplied since, in October 1999, Mugabe was subjected to a citizen's arrest by a British gay activist while shopping in London. Press and government whipped up outrage against Britain: at a Commonwealth meeting, Mugabe accused "gangster gays" of working for the British "gangster regime."41 He told a meeting of traditional leaders in Zimbabwe that Britain sought to promote homosexuality in Zimbabwe: "We are against this homosexuality and we as chiefs in Zimbabwe should fight against such Western practices and respect our culture.... Let us fight against the enemy." 42 He repeatedly accused U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair's government of being controlled by homosexuals.
At campaign rallies for the 2002 presidential election, Mugabe emphasized that he had "real men" around him. He called on Tony Blair to "expose" his cabinet, saying, "I have people who are married in my cabinet. He has homosexuals and they make John marry Joseph and let Mary get married to Rosemary.... We can form clubs, but we will never have homosexual clubs. In fact, we will punish them."43
In April 2002 the head of one of the main mouthpieces of Mugabe's many denunciations, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Alum Mpofu, was forced to resign. He had allegedly been caught having sex with a man in a Harare nightclub.44 In June 2002, an opposition legislator testified in a court case that he had heard rumors of an affair between Mpofu and Mugabe's powerful minister of information, Jonathan Moyo.45 With homosexuality threatening to intrude in the highest echelons of Zimbabwe's government, Mugabe reportedly ordered a "witch hunt" against any homosexuals in his administration. One South African newspaper asserted that Mugabe asked his Central Intelligence Organisation, responsible for state security and the president's protection, to assemble lists of gays in official service.46 A source told a Zimbabwean reporter that "The president made it clear that the world would see him as a hypocrite if he attacked ... Tony Blair for having a cabinet full of gays when these very same people are said to be in his administration." 47
Rita Makarau, then a member of Parliament from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, and a politician often presented as a liberal face of the regime, told us in 2000 that
I believe lesbians and gays were indeed always part of our society. There was not tolerance as such; but a spirit that if they only kept to themselves we would not interfere. The problem, you know, is that there is not a culture of human rights in Zimbabwe. I try to look to the future, to rights that can be interpreted or gained through jurisprudence. I try to say to people, "give us five years!"48
B. Namibia: Obsession and Opportunism
Mugabe's statements drew international condemnation, but also international imitation. In neighboring Namibia Gwen Lister, publisher of the Namibian, the country's main independent press organ, remembers how startled she was when homosexuality became a political question there, in the months after Mugabe exploited it.
Many people were a bit confused at the time: it's years after independence, we've never heard a word about these things, why suddenly is this becoming an issue? If I'm asked the question, I think it's really opportunistic, I think at times it's a question of finding a scapegoat when things go wrong.... Don't forget, to a very large degree, the people they are speaking to are in the rural areas, are not illiterate but peasant folk that they are talking to about these things, and making it seem as though all these whites from all over the world are coming here to Namibia to turn black Namibians into gays and lesbians.... If there's been a huge scandal of corruption then suddenly they'll shout the odds about gays and lesbians.... It's something that seems to happen in waves. You'll find right at this time [November 2001] that the gay and lesbian issue isn't on the national agenda at all. But who's to say that come December when something else happens, it's not suddenly going to be put right in people's faces once again? 49
The first wave started among lower officials-but, as Lister says, "the trend began with the president. There's absolutely no question about that.... In order to please the president, other figures who are not as high on the political spectrum as he join in by making these noises from time to time."
In October 1995, only months after the Harare Book Fair controversy, Namibia's deputy minister for lands, resettlement, and rehabilitation told a reporter that "Homosexuality is like cancer or AIDS and everything should be done to stop its spread in Namibia." He urged that gays and lesbians be "operated on to remove unnatural hormones," and tied the struggle against external perversion to the liberation struggle: according to the reporter, he "said he did not take up arms to fight for an immoral society, neither does he want his children to live in such a corrupt state."50 Soon after, Namibia's finance minister, Helmut Angula, wrote a long article arguing that "homosexuality is an unnatural behavioural disorder which is alien to African culture ... [and] a product of industrialised society, where there is plenty of boredom and unbridled materialism, as well as liberalism bordering on anarchy."51
Another wave came in 1998. Late that year, Minister of Home Affairs Jerry Ekandjo stated in the National Assembly that he planned to introduce new legislation against homosexual acts. "It is my considered opinion," he said, "that the so-called gay rights can never qualify as human rights. They are wrongly claimed because it is inimical to true Namibian culture, African culture and religion. They should be classified as human wrongs which must rank as sin against society and God."52
No such legislation was ever introduced. Two years later, however, the minister returned to the subject. Speaking to a group of newly graduated police officers in October 2000, he urged them to "eliminate" gays and lesbians "from the face of Namibia," saying that the "Constitution does not guarantee rights for gays and lesbians," and that police must take measures to combat all such "unnatural acts, including murder."53 An opposition MP demanded clarification from the minister on the floor of the National Assembly. Ekandjo answered that "elimination does not only mean to kill. According to the dictionary meaning, elimination may also mean to ignore, put aside, and [get] rid of." However, he insisted, "We never had moffies [a derogatory term for gay or effeminate men widely used in the region] in mind when SWAPO drafted the Namibian Constitution ten years ago."54
Most conspicuously, however, President Nujoma has periodically weighed in in statements closely echoing Mugabe's, with sometimes vague, sometimes ominously specific threats. In December 1996, Nujoma declared that "all necessary steps must be taken to combat influences that are influencing us and our children in a negative way. Homosexuals must be condemned and rejected in our society." 55 In the ensuing controversy-with the feminist organization Sister Namibia strongly criticizing the president's remarks-the ruling South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) party swung strongly behind its leader, effectively making homophobia a political platform in Namibia. In what observers called an "unprecedented" move, the party issued a statement supporting the president, threatening his opponents, and vowing to "uproot" homosexuality:
It should be noted that most of ardent supporters of this perverts [sic] are Europeans who imagine themselves to be the bulwark of civilization and enlightenment ...
If there is a matter which must be dealt with utmost urgency, it is the need to revitalise our inherent culture and its moral values which we have identified with foreign immoral values. Promotion of homosexuality in our society scorns many sets of our values...
The moral values of our nation, as defended by the President, incorporate the fundamental principles of nature and should not be equated to the vile practices of homosexuals which has a backlash. Homosexuality deserves a severe contempt and disdain from the Namibian people and should be uprooted totally as a practice.56
Nujoma has repeated his threats regularly. Later in 1997, he warned the SWAPO Youth League that homosexuals "should not impose on the human rights of others. The youth should be vigilant and guard against foreigners who claim to know development and democracy better than us.... Where were they when we sacrificed our lives during the liberation struggle?"57 In 2000, attending a cultural gathering where a chief spoke in condemnation of homosexuality, Nujoma urged parents and traditional leaders "to whip" those who refused to follow cultural norms, "because culture is the fundamental source of respect and wisdom of any given nation."58
A rapid-fire series of statements from Nujoma came early in the next year. In March 2001, the president told university students that "The Republic of Namibia does not allow homosexuality, lesbianism here. Police are ordered to arrest you, and deport you and imprison you too."59 In April 2001, he voiced horror at recent weddings of same-sex couples in the Netherlands. He warned homosexuals would be barred from entering Namibia: "If they arrive at the Hosea Kutako Airport, we'll send them back with the same aircraft-if they are couples or found to be homosexuals." And he added, "The constitution is being misinterpreted by colonialists who are confused. They are using the constitution to protect homosexuals and lesbians in an irresponsible way."60 In the same month, he urged traditional leaders and local officials to "see to it that there are no criminals, gays and lesbians in your villages and regions."61 Later that month he elaborated on the theme at a SWAPO rally, criticizing the forces of "imperialism" and saying that "The enemy is still trying to come back with sinister manoeuvres and tricks called lesbians and homosexuality and globalisation. These are all madness and they claim to be Christians.... They colonised us and now they claim human rights when we condemn and reject them. In Namibia there will be no lesbian and homosexual [sic] left."62
Also in early 2001, Nujoma told an interviewer that
Each nation, each people on earth have their own cultures, way of life. But I detest the way human rights [are] being put that they [homosexuals] should parade in the streets behaving like animals.... God created a man and a woman separately. Now we have women marrying each other and men marrying each other. What is this madness? You must remain with your cultures in Europe. Don't bring it to Namibia because we are not going to impose our cultures on you.
When the interviewer, a German-born Namibian citizen, asked how such comments corresponded to the constitution, Nujoma grew agitated:
That is a constitution that was made by SWAPO, we are the ones who fought for the liberation of this country for you to talk about a constitution. What do you know about [a] constitution? You sided with the enemy here!... Keep away your system of corruption, anti-God and animal behaviour from the Republic of Namibia.
The interviewer asked again about "gay and lesbianism" and Nujoma replied:
Keep away from our country, please. Don't repeat those words. They are unacceptable here. If you want us to work with you, respect our laws and respect our rights. Those words you are mentioning are un-Namibian.63
The government was prepared to punish civil society actors for using the "un-Namibian" words. Little more than a year before the interview quoted above, Nujoma's administration had tried to discredit the country's largest women's rights organization, for including a reference to gay and lesbian rights in an advocacy document. Sister Namibia, a feminist NGO, had organized other civil society actors to collaborate on a document called the Namibian Women's Manifesto: the goal was to support and publicize the government's National Gender Policy, turning its generalizations into specific recommendations relevant to everyday life. The twenty-five-page document contained only two references to lesbians-one including them in a list of women to be protected from discrimination; another asking political parties to state their stances on gay and lesbian rights. Five days before the manifesto's release in 1999, the SWAPO Women's Council condemned it, saying that it differed from the state policy in that "they included homosexuality issues in their so-called manifesto.... They have to find another platform to address homosexuality and not within the context of gender issues."64 The head of the national Department of Women's Affairs said the manifesto "has no other message than asking women in Namibia to promote homosexuality." State agencies distanced themselves from NGOS associated with the manifesto; unsubtle pressures were applied to divide civil society and isolate Sister Namibia.65
The controversy over the Women's Manifesto pitted the ruling party's women's league against independent feminist organizers from civil society. Sister Namibia is headed by an open lesbian, Elizabeth Khaxas; the accusations of "promoting homosexuality" were in part aimed at her work. In 1996, when Nujoma launched his first comments against homosexuality, he chose a meeting of the SWAPO Women's Council to do so. Even then, some feminists took this as a message: that respectable women worked within the state and party, while deviants pursued activism outside.
Civil society has in fact responded to SWAPO's attacks. From the beginning, in 1995, Sister Namibia had criticized official homophobia, stating publicly that "We believe that gays and lesbians should have the same rights as heterosexuals in all spheres of life."66 The next year, it boldly condemned the utterances of the president himself, declaring, "We must stand up now together and speak out against this or any other kind of hate speech and oppression against any member of our communities."67 When Minister Ekandjo threatened anti-gay legislation in 1998, other NGOs opposed him. The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) had produced gay-friendly educational materials68; its president, Phil ya Nangoloh, told us that year, "We do not tolerate discrimination on any grounds. We think government has run out of issues, and wants to whip up emotion by talking about gayness. It is behaving ridiculously, like an elephant chasing a squirrel."69
In 1997, Sister Namibia provided space and helped gay men and lesbians found their own network for support and advocacy, called The Rainbow Project (TRP). In 2001, when Nujoma threatened lesbians and gays with arrest and deportation, TRP was able to build a coalition in response. The National Society for Human Rights issued press releases and an open letter to the president condemning the threats. TRP called for a march to affirm the freedom and safety of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. As word of the march spread, the organizers began hearing of threats, including a statement by SWAPO Youth League that the "march will never take place."70 Human rights activists in Windhoek supported the original organizers and turned the rally into a "march for the human rights of all." More than one thousand people rallied at the event; all the major human rights groups were involved.71 Some NGOs expressed private support for the march but declined to participate because they were dependent on SWAPO for funding.72 After the march, President Nujoma asked, "How dare they march in a country we liberated?"73
Still, Ian Swartz, TRP's coordinator, says that fear has impeded the group's efforts to provide counselling and support services to people abused or discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to Swartz, most lesbians and gay men are so frightened of being identified that they will not come to TRP's quarters in Windhoek. The group provides almost all their services through a telephone hotline.74
Staff at NSHR have also noted an increase in attacks on their work, Phil ya Nangoloh told Human Rights Watch in 2001. "Those of us who work at the society have been attacked as traitors, as spies, and for being un-African. We've also been attacked for promoting homosexuality because we are critical of the attacks by the president and the minister of home affairs and by the SFF [Special Field Forces]. We are not promoting homosexuality, we are promoting human rights." Ya Nangoloh added, "Gays and lesbians have been in Africa for a long time-we have words in our local language for gay people. They are not a threat to the president. But we can't ignore what he's said because it is becoming very dangerous." 75
Norman Tjombe of the Legal Action Center (LAC) believes that SWAPO is trying to distract its constituencies from its failure to address mass unemployment, land reform issues, and a growing HIV epidemic. "Perverse sex" is a perfect diversion. "In our culture we have strong ideas regarding men and women. Men are strong-women are submissive. No other expression of sexuality is permitted. Nujoma knows that most Namibians are intolerant of homosexuality, so he attacks gays and lesbians. The government is making attacks on homosexuality a central part of its outlook. But it will not end with homosexuality-it is to create a culture of intolerance-a culture that will grow. Either we change this culture and become more tolerant or it will get worse."76
Swartz also expressed concern about the culture of intolerance the state promotes. "First it was attacks on homosexuals. Then it became rhetoric about `purifying' Namibia, which meant attacks on whites, Afrikaans-speaking Namibians, and then all foreigners and women who marry foreigners. Also, just like Mugabe, Nujoma is attacking landowners and the independent media."77
Ya Nangoloh notes the attacks are often personal. Independent judges have been vilified for deciding against the government: "Individuals have been attacked as traitors, as foreigners, racists, reactionaries, and imperialists."78 Ya Nangoloh himself has been called, in a government press release, a traitor who "DESERTED the national liberation struggle" and "vilifies the SWAPO government" to "receive his daily bread from his sponsors." 79
Gwen Lister of the Namibian also observes that the attacks on homosexuals are often "personally directed."80 Another activist says, "It is a small country and they know who to target. You mustn't think that they are talking about a group in general. They know who they mean."81
For example, Elizabeth Khaxas and her German-born partner, Liz Frank, fought a years-long legal battle to have their relationship recognized for immigration purposes. Although they had lived together and raised a son, the Ministry of Home Affairs fought to deny Frank a residency permit, threatening her with deportation. Indeed, in 2000, Home Affairs Minister Ekandjo specifically commented in Parliament on Frank's and Khaxas' case-saying mockingly that he would remain opposed to recognizing their status as a couple "until it is scientifically tested that they can produce a baby."82 The case reached the country's Supreme Court in 2001; in a split decision in March of that year, it found that a same-sex relationship could not be recognized by Namibian law, and could not count in favor of the application.83 President Nujoma's threat to "deport" lesbians and gays came shortly after the Supreme Court decision. It was evidently in part meant to menace Frank and Khaxas.84
Henning Melber, director of the Namibian Economic Research Policy Unit (NEPRU), told us in 1998:
One must look on Namibia as a traumatized place, perhaps a schizophrenic place. There is an unresolved history in this country, a history of authoritarian personality structures. The country has been through trauma, a terrible period of repression and a war. This produces a typical phenomenon of very dependent individual personalities, the result of a long history of colonialism and brutality and fear. Such personalities can easily be mobilized against a minority. And sexuality is very much bound up with fear.
Then, though, there is a split in public awareness and political awareness. Repression co-exists with liberalism. One part of the government will say it wants to eradicate the enemy. Another part hurries in to say that it wants to give everyone rights.
And the fear of the internal enemy is tied to fears of external enemies. Homophobic sentiments are mixed with xenophobic sentiments. It is terrible. And it is depressing.85
As Gwen Lister had predicted, another "wave" of violent rhetoric may have begun. In August 2002 President Nujoma again mixed homophobia with fear of the outside. Speaking to the Namibia Public Workers Union Congress, he denounced what he called "British imperialism" and its anti-Mugabe stance: "Today it is Zimbabwe, tomorrow it is Namibia or any other country. We must unite and support Zimbabwe. We cannot allow imperialism to take over our continent again." And he criticized wealthy countries for tying development aid to human rights, which he linked with promoting homosexuality.
In Namibia we will not allow these lesbians and gays. We fought the liberation struggle without that. We do not need it in our country . . . We have whites who are Namibian, but they must remember they have no right to force their culture on anyone. If they are lesbian, they can do it at home, but not show it in public... I warn you as workers not to allow homosexuality. Africa will be destroyed.86
C. Zambia: "Wanting to Help Others Was the Worst Crime of All"
Zambia, in a few months in 1998 experienced something akin to the hysterical rhetoric about homosexuality which Mugabe and Nujoma had inflicted on their countries over several years. A newspaper article describing a single, isolated gay man's experiences provoked a vast national controversy. Church leaders, NGO officials, students and professors, and professional politicians all stepped forward to voice their horror of homosexuality. The vice-president and ultimately the president of the country joined the condemnations. By the time the furor died down, homosexuals had been driven even more deeply underground, or beyond the country's borders altogether. And human rights organizations, and civil society agents in general, had been stigmatized as being agents of a foreign agenda.
In July 1998, a young man named Francis Yabe Chisambisha went to the offices of Zambia's largest independent newspaper, told them he was homosexual, and asked if they would like an interview. Reporters leapt at the chance. Chisambisha's self-revelation, his "coming out," was, as he explained to our researcher later, born of wanting not to continue in concealment. The Post published Chisambisha's interview, and photograph, on its first page. The story, which used his full name, spread over three pages; it concentrated on his sexual experiences. "I'm 25, gay, with 33 sex partners," said the front headline; an interior header added, "I am gay and enjoying it ..." Buried in the article was a more moving message. Chisambisha explained why he went public:
Firstly, what I want is to tell society that this gay thing has been there even before our generation. I want society to be aware that it is happening in Zambia and there are people who want to be respected for their choice. It's just that in our African culture, it's believed to be taboo and hence people do it in hiding," he said. "But the fact that I am doing it, shows that this practice is there and will continue to be there as long as man is there. Our friends in South Africa and Zimbabwe and elsewhere have spoken out that they want their feelings to be respected and be allowed to enjoy their sexual preferences. That is what I want to do here in Zambia. It makes me feel bad to be criticized that what you are doing is wrong when I am not causing harm to the person I am doing it with.
Secondly, Francis said he wants to form an association so that Zambian gays can fight for their rights. 87
Chisambisha told us later, "I was alone and I wanted not to be, and I wanted to help others not to be. I found out that being alone was legal. Wanting not to be alone was criminal. Wanting to help others was the worst crime of all."88
Chisambisha's confession sparked a mammoth scandal. The response was instant. The day after Chisambisha's confession, the Post was already receiving hand-delivered indignant letters. "There is totally nothing good in being gay that one should feel that it is an achievement to come out in the open," one read.89 The rest of the press scrambled to rival the scoop; when, weeks later, a headline screamed "Another gay surfaces," it seemed like relief for desperate reporters.90 Homosexuality had almost never been publicly discussed in Zambia; now, for months, most newspapers carried several stories a week about it. Virtually all condemned it. The independent Post was willing at least occasionally to convey Chisambisha's and other sympathetic perspectives; the state-sponsored press was uniformly negative.91
A women's columnist headlined an account of the controversy, "Homosexuality not new but can be stopped here," and pictured advocacy for sexual rights as deleterious to development:
In advanced societies, where people have attained so much that they have nothing much to do in life, they tend to turn to such unnatural practices as a pastime. In the first world, people have achieved so much in life. They have three meals a day, all the fruits and drinks of any imaginable luxury at their disposal. Since some of them may not have much work to do any more, they search for hobbies and some, unfortunately, end up in homosexuality. But in third world countries, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa, we have so much work to do, we cannot even afford to think of homosexuality.... The energies being channeled toward unproductive ventures like forming gay associations could be used for more meaningful projects like poverty alleviation ... The relevant authorities should be prompted to act against people purporting to enhance their human rights by engaging in unacceptable practices.92
Reporters conducted "man-in-the-street" interviews, gauging the indignation they helped to foster. One writer asked Lusakans about the proposal to let gays form an NGO:
A cross-section of the public interviewed during a random survey seem to be in unison that such a move is unacceptable and should not be encouraged in any way as it would merely be perpetuating a vice. The outraged people noted that although homosexual and lesbian organizations might be in existence elsewhere, it was totally alien in Zambian society and everything should be done to ensure it did not take off.93
Another cited the Zimbabwean situation, saying many Zambians
vehemently oppose the wholesale importation of Western culture including negative and retrogressive values like homosexuality, which some say is an insult to the conscience of the human being for even the low animals, some people interviewed say, know better. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who not long ago put up a strong fight against gays in his country drew a similar analogue and said homosexuals are worse than animals.94
"Homos, lesbians, go to hell!" one piece was headlined:
When the bad news fouled my ears to the effect that homosexuals, lesbians, I mean the gays, have started walking the streets with their heads upright, my soul was shaken to its very foundation....
These homosexuals, and these lesbians, wonders will never end! Are you telling me they have the courage to waste the taxpayer's stationery, I mean my stationery, by registering an association with the Registrar of Societies?
Registrar of Societies, I don't expect it to happen, but if a lesbian gathers enough courage and exhibits her ugly face in the confines of your beautiful office for the sinful, shameful purpose of registering what will sinfully and shamefully be known as the Lesbians Union of Zambia, give her the boot, particularly on her rump steak, you know what I mean by her rump steak, don't you? What I mean is, give her marching orders thus: By the left, quick match! Left, right, left, right, On the double!...
Homosexuals, lesbians, gays, you homosexuals, go home, who needs you? Did I say go home? It was a slip of the tongue. I meant go to Hell. Look, homosexuals, lesbians, gays and the likes of you, no home is fit for you. . . .
All of you need to be sent to a special institution to undergo special and thorough examination. Something is certainly the matter with you.95
Few dared raise dissenting voices. Former president Kenneth Kaunda initially urged Zambians to "cool down and think about" the question of "how to handle these brothers and sisters."96 A furious response from press and politicians ensued; one writer sneered, "It took just one ill-timed, ill-conceived, ill-advised statement uttered in probably less than one minute to invalidate... Kaunda's claim to 74.5 years of wisdom."97 Kaunda soon retracted his sympathy, explaining that "They are sick, in my opinion, and they should be helped to come back to normalcy."98
Francis Chisambisha found one lone defender. On the day after his interview was published, the Post's front page announced that Alfred Zulu, head of the Zambia Independent Monitoring Team (ZIMT), wanted to support Chisambisha. "Gay people," said Zulu, "just like lesbians, are normal people and are entitled to fundamental human rights and should not be discriminated against."99
Zulu's organization had previously worked principally on election monitoring and on the rights of traditional chiefs. He quickly, however, became the country's main spokesperson on the issue of sexual orientation. In part because of provocative assertions by Zulu about homosexuals' prevalence in Zambia, he was mocked as well as vilified.100 That a self-proclaimed heterosexual man should defend homosexuals particularly outraged many. At one raucous public meeting, a pastor pleaded with him to admit that he was gay, so that "society will know how to deal with you."
A forum on the issue organized by journalism students at a local college erupted into violence, with Zulu as the target. One press account said that Zulu and a fellow staffer "narrowly escaped lynching" when the audience grew outraged at their "advocating homosexuality." Students switched off lights in the auditorium "so that they could manhandle the two gay advocates"; police intervened to protect them.101
Within weeks, Zulu and Chisambisha had decided to form an NGO, the Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender Persons Association (LEGATRA). Its creation was announced to the press by ZIMT, and again drew banner headlines. At first it planned to operate through the parent organization. Ultimately, though, LEGATRA hoped to apply for legal registration.102
The idea of an association roused still more outrage. The ministers of legal affairs and of information were followed by the minister of home affairs and a spokesman for the national police in warning that anyone trying to register such an association would be arrested.103 The minister of legal affairs observed that "the registration of such an association was in itself a crime." And government spokesman David Mpamba, calling homosexuality "un-African and an abomination to society which would cause social decay," called on Alfred Zulu to step down "for misleading the nation on a moral issue of homosexuality."104
The minister of health warned against allowing LEGATRA to register, stating that "allowing homosexual groups in Zambia would worsen the AIDS situation."105 In Parliament, then Vice-President Christon Tembo announced that people defending the rights of homosexuals faced jail. Since the penal code prohibited homosexual conduct, "If anybody promotes gay rights after this statement the law will take its course. We need to protect public morality. Human rights do not operate in a vacuum."106 And he added, "An association formed to further the interests of homosexuals can never be registered in Zambia.... [T]hose who will persist in championing the cause for homosexuality activities in Zambia risk being arrested."107 Several gay men who had given their names to LEGATRA went into hiding after these public threats.108
Then president Chiluba finally addressed the issue in October 1998, in a speech on the thirty-fourth anniversary of Zambia's independence. Showing palpable disgust, according to observers, he said, "Homosexuality is the deepest level of depravity. It is unbiblical and abnormal. How do you expect my government to accept something that is abnormal?"109 He accused Zulu of pandering to foreign funding, and promised that his administration would prevent homosexuality from gaining a foothold in Zambia.
Chiluba's party, the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), had been swept into power in a 1991 landslide election victory, propelled by revulsion at the structural adjustment plans imposed in the 1980s. It was an uneasy coalition of trade unions, intellectuals, and conservative rural populations. Chiluba quickly found himself introducing still more rigorous economic reforms.110 With prices spiraling, urban support for the MMD plummeted; the adminstration found itself more and more reliant on rural constituencies, and by extension on the Christian congregations particularly influential there. One of its first steps had been to promulgate a constitution declaring Zambia a "Christian nation." 111 Now, homosexuality became a convenient occasion for politicians to cement their alliance with churches, and prove their readiness to defend the religious identity of the state.
Two days after Francis Chisambisha came out in the press, Archbishop John Mambo, superintendent of the Church of God for the Central African Region, said that "homosexuality cannot be an issue of human rights because it is against the teachings of the Bible."112 Later, at a national conference on human rights, Mambo opposed the registration of gay organizations.113 Reverend John Jere of Zambia United Christian Action declared, "Our government should take a Biblical stand against such evils" as homosexuality.114 Zambia is a center for the activities of North American-based fundamentalist Christian evangelists: their approaches and language were invoked in debates. One Zambian newspaper simply reprinted materials describing the work of a U.S. Christian organization which allegedly "converted" gays, Exodus International, to support the idea that "Christian counselling" could cure homosexuals and return them to the fold of society.115
Other civil society actors almost uniformly opposed ZIMT and LEGATRA. Many spoke out on the issue despite its irrelevance to their own mandates. Truckers Association of Zambia (TAZ) Chairman Charles Madondo said, "I find it strange that anyone can talk of human rights on somebody doing something not only illegal but also unChristian. Perceiving such practices as human rights is the same as condoning adultery or even murder."116 The chair of the Zambia Peace Bureau, and the president of the Assocation of Zambian Private Investigators and Security Organizations, gave statements to the press condemning homosexuality.117 Traditional chiefs, with an eye on their own relationship to the state, weighed in:
The Tonga Traditional Association yesterday called on Government to deregister the Zambia Independent Monitoring Team (ZIMT) and arrest all its leaders who have been campaigning for gay rights in Zambia.
Tonga Traditional Association president Dickson Namanza said in Lusaka yesterday that Government was encouraging lawlessness by not arresting the ZIMT leaders, whose gay rights campaign was illegal....
He said chiefs needed to jointly support Government in its firm stand against the practice whose campaign was being funded by powerful Western donors.
Mr. Namanza called on Government to increase its funding to traditional rulers whom he said played very important roles in issues such as the one ignited by ZIMT and LEGATRA.118
Muleya Mwananyanda, information officer of the Zambian human rights group Afronet, told our researcher in 1998 that "the human rights movement is divided on this issue. It is hard not to say that this [homosexuality] is a new kind of right for us. And then people say, `why should we be fighting for a new right when we don't have our old rights yet?'"119 In fact, ZIMT was the only human rights organization to speak out for homosexuals. Many other groups expressly working for democracy and human rights went out of their way to speak against homosexuals. George Kunda, head of the Law Association of Zambia, told reporters that
under existing laws no one was permitted to be involved in unnatural acts like sodomy or lesbianism. . . . On the people who had come out in the open claiming that they were gays he noted that they risked being prosecuted because it was a crime under the Penal Code....
"Sodomy or those other things they are fighting for are acts against the order of nature which are not allowed by our existing law," Mr. Kunda said.120
The executive director of the Foundation for Democratic Process (FoDEP), a group promoting civic education and fair elections, accused ZIMT of "encouraging the discrimination against gays by encouraging them to come out in the open."121 The head of Rainbow Monitors, an election-monitoring NGO close to the government, said that "it is a matter of urgency that the campaign for the rights of homosexuals and lesbians be nipped in the bud.... The law in Zambia is very clear on the status of homosexual and other sodomy activities and any persons engaging in or advocating for sodomy is [sic] guilty of breaking the law."122 Archibald Ngcobo, chair of the Southern African Human Rights Foundation, said that homosexuality remained taboo in Africa: "We should not even gloss over that factor. Based on our cultural side it is against African tradition."123 And Mike Zulu, president of Focus for Democracy (FOD) told Francis Chisambisha in a public panel, "You chaps are sick. You need help. You need what I call sex therapy.... I wouldn't want any of my children to be spoiled just because of you chaps."124
A dean at the University of Zambia saw homosexuality as defining the limits of human rights:
Rights have to be natural and anything not deriving its legitimacy from the natural phenomenon can't be said to be a right. Social irresponsibility has extended to unthinkable levels that perverts and sadists are busy lurking in the dark bringing ideas against moral standards in the country all in the name of democracy and human rights.... Every society has minimum standards of acceptable behavior and those for homosexuality championing those filthy practices should not be condoned at all. 125
Our researcher in November 1998 met with three members of Zambia's Permanent Human Rights Commission, established by the government in 1997 as an independent monitoring body. The members emphasized that they could not intervene on homosexual issues. The chair, Judge Lombe Chibesakunda, told our researcher that "this is not one of our priority areas of concern. We are concerned with pressing issues, including poverty and prisons." She stressed the importance of "balancing rights," noting that "the rights of children have to be balanced against the rights of gays." And she condemned the intolerance of Western societies "which do not take the idiosyncrasies of a given society into account." Reverend Foston Sakala, another commission member, said, "It is appropriate to consider levels of development of countries. For us, the timing is wrong."126
The controversy eventually-and perhaps most dangerously-became one over how civil society was funded, and the motives of its funders. In September 1998, the Norwegian Embassy gave a substantial grant to ZIMT, and expressly targeted part of it for supporting the organization's work with LEGATRA. A new furor erupted when the donation was reported in the state-sponsored press.127 One letter to the editor demanded, "Are donors gay?"128 Diplomats of other embassies were questioned by reporters, resulting in the reassuring headline, "Gay rights no condition for Japanese aid."129 An editorial stated, "We have reason to suspect that many of those behind the alliance formed by gays and lesbians in Zambia are money-mongers who are more interested in donor funds which ... the West has promised them."130
In an extraordinary confrontation, Norway's ambassador was summoned by the minister of foreign affairs to explain the grant.131 Speaking under conditions of anonymity, an official at the Norwegian Embassy told our researcher,
The Ambassador was told quite strongly that it was unacceptable for a foreign embassy to intervene in illegal conduct in this country. It reached the level of a written reply from our foreign minister to the Zambian foreign minister. I cannot tell you its contents. But I can tell you that our position generally is, first, that priorities are set by NGOs themselves, and second, that we were giving support to ZIMT to sponsor discussion. And we assume that having discussions and so forth on an issue is not illegal. But I can tell you that this kind of thing becomes known in the diplomatic community. I believe it will make many embassies more careful than us about whom they support. And I believe it will make many NGOs very careful about what they discuss.132
Anders Pedersen, first secretary at the Embassy of Sweden, exemplified this caution. "For me personally," he told our researcher, homosexuality "is an issue you must defend." But he added,
For us it has been very much a question of-operating here in Zambia, you must make a distinction between our values in our society, and what kind of discussion can we have in Zambia.... The Norwegian Embassy's situation, we defend, we sympathize. But should Sweden stand with them publicly? No; we have decided it is not the right way.133
Western donors and embassies in Zambia, as in much of Africa, had shifted their priorities since the 1980s away from funding government projects toward promoting non-governmental organizations. "Donor-driven democratization," as one Zambian political scientiest called it, promoted an independent, often critical civil society: but governments which lost direct aid might well doubly resent the perception that the funds were channeled to enable their opponents. 134 With President Chiluba himself accusing NGOs of selling out Zambians to an agenda set by foreign funders, the controversy over homosexuality threatened to become one over the legitimacy-and "authenticity"-of civil society itself.
The IGLHRC representative visiting Zambia in November 1998 found a minuscule gay community in terror and disarray. Francis Chisambisha had not seen or spoken to his family since he came out in the Post in July. He had earlier been studying at an agricultural college run by the United Church of Zambia. After the article appeared, however, he was barred from taking his exams, and told verbally that he was suspended from the school. Now he stayed with friends, moving from house to house regularly in fear of the police. Others associated with LEGATRA were homeless, expelled by their families who discovered or suspected they were gay.135
LEGATRA was still an illegal organization. The Registrar of Societies had not arrested ZIMT staffers who came to present LEGATRA's application for registration; he had repeatedly turned them away, though, claiming he had run out of forms.136 The IGLHRC representative visited the registrar, Herbert Nyendwa, together with ZIMT and LEGATRA members. Nyendwa confirmed that he could not register the group, "any more than I could a Satanic organization."137
LEGATRA ceased to exist within a few months. By 1999, most of its members had fled the country. ZIMT also collapsed as an organization in 2000.
One explanation for the spread of homophobic rhetoric on the African continent was offered in 1998 by South Africa's Zackie Achmat. Achmat, a former anti-apartheid activist and revered figure in his country's progressive politics, founded his country's National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality; he has since become a renowned campaigner for access to HIV treatment. Many African politicians, Achmat told our researcher,
want to blame the West for everything, homosexuality included. And they are right, the West is responsible for their rhetoric, but in a different way than they say. The West, the IMF, the World Bank, push structural adjustment plans on these countries. And they are starved and devastated by it. Food is unaffordable, health care unavailable; educations, opportunities, pensions are all gone. And the populations are enraged, rightly. And the governments used to depend on one class to support them when the chips were down: civil servants. Intellectuals used to know that you emerged from the universities and you had a lifetime government job. No more: the government jobs are gone, courtesy of the IMF's orders. The civil servants are all redundant. And so these governments are precarious and terrified. The people are roused up against them, and there is no one to support them. Their only real hope is that people die of AIDS or hunger before they are angry enough to rebel.
And what do they find? They say "homosexual" and two sorts come running to them: the Christian churches and the African traditionalists, two groups who usually won't even speak to one another, come flocking behind the government's banner. Suddenly they have support. It's a magic word. They think it is a perfect solution. For now.138
In diverse corners of Africa, other countries have heard rhetoric similar to Mugabe's.
In Botswana, discussion of homosexuality intensified in 1998, when the process of revising the penal code raised prospects that the sodomy law might be repealed. Political forces mobilized to forestall the possibility. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) faced an election in the next year, and the opposition tentatively favored sodomy law repeal. Molosiwa Selepeng, political affairs secretary in the president's office, told a reporter that "Homosexual practice remains a crime in Botswana and this reflects the overwhelming majority attitudes in this country." He said those attitudes found homosexuality "unnatural and abhorrent." The executive secretary of the ruling BDP said his party "could not even debate the issue of homosexuality" because it "would shock the Batswana nation."139
The vice-president of Botswana, Seretse Ian Khama, also spoke out against homosexuals. Asked in Parliament to clarify the government's position, he said:
Human rights are not a licence to commit unnatural acts which offend the social norms of behaviour ... The law is abundantly clear that homosexuality, performed either by males or females, in public or private is an offence punishable by law.140
Several traditional leaders vocally opposed relaxing the penal code, according to a reporter:
Bakgatla Kgosi Linchwe II lambasted homosexuals as being worse than animals. "To liken them to animals is an insult," said Kgosi Linchwe.
Bangwaketse Kgosi Seepapitso IV told the Sun that people who are gay need to be whipped or sent to jail.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana, a coalition of evangelical churches, intervened as well, launching what it called a "crusade" against homosexuality. Its national secretary, Pastor Biki Vutale, called on "all Christians and all morally upright persons within the four corners of Botswana to reject, resist, denounce, expose, demolish and totally frustrate any effort by whoever to infiltrate such foreign cultures of moral decay and shame into our respectable, blessed, and peaceful country."142
Yet in Botswana, as in Namibia, civil society spoke out against the vilification. In particular, the mainstream human rights organization Ditshwanelo defended homosexuals from the start. As early as 1995, it urged decriminalization of homosexual conduct.143 It provided space, support, and legal help to a group of gays and lesbians who eventually founded an organization called LEGABIBO-Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana. In 1998, Ditshwanelo organized a roundtable on gay rights, producing a paper on the subject which it submitted to the criminal law reform process. 144 It was attacked for its efforts: Bekezela Nkomo, of the Evangelical Christian Fellowship, said "Ditshwanelo is infiltrated by gays and lesbians with the set aim of desecrating traditional African moral values on the altar of perceived constitutional rights."145
However, Anglican leader Walter Makhulu, archbishop of Central and Southern Africa-and the patron of Ditshwanelo-offered a different perspective, telling a reporter who asked about gays and lesbians:
I am intrigued that you never bother about sexual orientation when people create wealth for your society, and do wonders in contributing to the upliftment of your community. But somehow, when it comes [to] these people's sexual orientation, you have difficulties.
Yes, the Bible does say it is opposed [to homosexuality]. But it was written in its own day and in its own time.146
Some changes have taken place in Botswana. In late 2000, president Festus Mogae urged the nation "not to be judgmental" about groups vulnerable to HIV, including homosexuals, prisoners, and commercial sex workers. 147 However, Botswana's sodomy law has not only been retained, but broadened to criminalize sexual conduct between women (see Appendix). In 1998, members of LEGABIBO met the attorney general-who told them informally that the organization would never be allowed to register legally, because homosexual conduct remained a criminal act.148 The organization is still extralegal. Religious forces remain divided: "Despite the Archbishop's efforts, there is still homophobia within the [Anglican] Church: and other churches simply think the Anglican stance is a form of madness," one cleric close to Makhulu told our researcher in 1998.149
E. South Africa: Signs of Hope
Until 1994, South Africa was ruled by a white minority government which founded its racist ideology in part on the Dutch Reformed Church's conservative theology, barring all expressions of sexuality outside a same-race heterosexual marriage. As the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, noted, "The apartheid regime enacted laws upon the religious convictions of a minority of the country's population, laws which denied gay and lesbian people their basic human rights and reduced them to social outcasts and criminals in their land of birth."
Speaking in 1995-only a few months before Robert Mugabe's attack on the Zimbabwe book fair-Tutu, another hero of Africa's liberation struggles, addressed himself to debates over the drafting of a constitution to govern the "new South Africa." He affirmed,
People's sexual nature is fundamental to their humanity.... These laws are still on the Statute Books awaiting your decision whether or not to include gay and lesbian people in the "Rainbow People" of South Africa. It would be a sad day for South Africa if any individual or group of law-abiding citizens in South Africa were to find that the Final Constitution did not guarantee their fundamental human right to a sexual life, whether heterosexual or homosexual.150
"Sexual orientation" had been included in the equality protections of the interim constitution when it was adopted in 1993-making South Africa the first country in the world to include that status in its bill of rights. The language owed to the extraordinary efforts and advocacy of gay and lesbian activists; to effective coalition-building with other civil society groups; and to the openness of the African National Congress, which had taken up gay and lesbian rights in its "Policy Guidelines for a Democratic South Africa" in 1992.151
The interim constitution, agreed upon by the main political parties, provided the basis for the 1994 elections, the first free vote in South Africa's history, and for the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president. Following the election, the new parliament took on a dual function as a constitutional assembly, to draft a final constitution. Though all articles were subject to debate, the final constitution had to conform to thirty-three "fundamental principles"-including nondiscrimination-that the parties had agreed would govern the process.
After a two-year discussion process, and hundreds of thousands of public submissions, only one party in the assembly, the African Christian Democratic Party, opposed including sexual orientation among banned discriminations in the final version of the bill of rights. Importantly, the assembly also agreed that the prohibition on discrimination should have "horizontal" effect, binding private actors as well as the state, and that the state should be required to implement this provision in legislation.
The "Equality Clause," part of article 9 of the constitution as adopted on May 8, 1996, holds:
(3) The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
(4) No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.
In 2000, in accordance with article 9(4), parliament enacted the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, which gives legal force to the constitutional ban on discrimination and provides mechanisms for redress (see Chapter V).
The influence of this constitutional protection has been profound. Rita Makarau, Mugabe supporter and member of Zimbabwe's Parliament, told our researcher in 2000, "Our homosexuals are always quoting the South African constitution."152 The constitution is a rhetoric in its own right, one which not only creates expectations among its own citizens but resonates beyond its borders.153 Two instances show its symbolic as well as substantive power.
Speaking at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995, South Africa's then minister of health, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, offered the South African example in support of the (ultimately failed) bid to include "sexual orientation" in the text of the conference Platform:
After the long history of discrimination in South Africa, we decided that when we were the government we would not discriminate against any group of persons, no matter how small their proportion in the population. To show that we do not have a short memory regarding matters of discrimination, our Constitution has a non-discrimination clause and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited. Though the number of people may be small, we do not discriminate against them, as we do not discriminate against anyone. We support the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Platform.154
Judge Albie Sachs, veteran anti-apartheid activist and justice of South Africa's Constitutional Court, wrote in a concurring opinion to the court's unanimous 1998 decision overturning sodomy laws in the country-a decision determining that those laws violated constitutional protections for privacy, dignity, and equality:
The acknowledgement and acceptance of difference is particularly important in our country where group membership has been the basis of express advantage and disadvantage. The development of an active rather than a purely formal sense of enjoying a common citizenship depends on recognising and accepting people as they are.... What the Constitution requires is that the law and public institutions acknowledge the variability of human beings and affirm the equal respect and concern that should be shown to all as they are. At the very least, what is statistically normal ceases to be the basis for establishing what is legally normative. More broadly speaking, the scope of what is constitutionally normal is expanded to include the widest range of perspectives and to acknowledge, accommodate and accept the largest spread of difference. What becomes normal in an open society, then, is not an imposed and standardised form of behaviour that refuses to acknowledge difference, but the acceptance of the principle of difference itself, which accepts the variability of human behaviour.
The invalidation of anti-sodomy laws will mark an important moment in the maturing of an open democracy based on dignity, freedom and equality. As I have said, our future as a nation depends in large measure on how we manage difference. In the past difference has been experienced as a curse, today it can be seen as a source of interactive vitality....
A state that recognises difference does not mean a state without morality or without a point of view. It does not banish concepts of right and wrong, nor envisage a world without good and evil.... What is central to the character and functioning of the state, however, is that the dictates of the morality which it enforces, and the limits to which it may go, are to be found in the text and spirit of the Constitution itself.155
Such language, however, still leaves unresolved the concrete ramifications of South Africa's promise. To predicate the morality of states on dignity and equality rather than precept and prejudice; to make that "interactive vitality" evident as a source of strength-these remain challenges in South Africa, as elsewhere.
South Africa still confronts unfulfilled responsibilities in implementing its constitutional protections: to expand them into the language of law and policy; to spell out their practical implications and construct new institutions to enact them; to translate them into accessible and usable words for local communities, activists, and victims of abuse. Instead, too often, South Africa has let its commitments rest on the shelf or remain idle in constitutional clauses, unsupported by action. The consequences of this failure will be explored later in this report.
1 Letter from the Ministry of Information, Posts, and Telecommunications' director of information, Bornwell Chakaodza, to Mrs. Trish Mbanga, executive director of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, July 24, 1995.
2 Statement to all Zimbabwe International Book Fair participants, July 31, 1995.
3 Quoted in Chris Dunton and Mai Palmberg, "Human Rights and Homosexuality in Southern Africa," Current African Issues 19, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1996, pp. 9-10.
4 Minister of Home Affairs Dumiso Dabengwa to the Daily Gazette, quoted in Josephine Masimba, "Zimbabwe: Police vow to keep gays in the closet," Inter Press Service, February 3, 1994.
5 Quoted in "Comment" (Editorial) in The Chronicle, Bulawayo, February 3, 1995. See Human Rights Violations Against Sexual Minorities in Zimbabwe, Submission from Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) to the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), 2001, pp. 9-10.
6 See "Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe," Human Rights Watch Short Report (New York: Human Rights Watch, February 2002).
7 Human Rights Violations Against Sexual Minorities in Zimbabwe, Submission from Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) to the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), 2001, p. 8.; IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Keith Goddard, GALZ, Harare, Zimbabwe, December 8, 1998. Peter Joaneti, a long-time GALZ member, told IGLHRC that after the book fair controversies, "Most whites withdrew their membership. We were too many blacks for them, and there were too many police. I don't know what was worse for them. Keith was the only one who stuck it out. But a lot of blacks felt we had nothing left to lose." IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Peter Joaneti, Harare, Zimbabwe, August 9, 2000.
8 South African News Agency SAPA, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, August 3, 1995.
9 Quoted in Dunton and Palmberg, "Human Rights and Homosexuality in Southern Africa," p. 13.
10 Quoted in Dunton and Palmberg, "Human Rights and Homosexuality in Southern Africa," p. 13. The letter, dated August 3, 1995, had been organized by U.S. Representatives Barney Frank and Maxine Waters.
11 M.P. Chigwedere, Zimbabwe parliamentary debate, September 28, 1995; quoted in Dunton and Palmberg, "Human Rights and Homosexuality in Southern Africa," p. 14.
12 Statement by Bornwell Chakaodza , quoted in "GALZ banned from Book Fair ... and won't be allowed at any future exhibition," Herald, July 24, 1996.
13 "We'll raze down GALZ stand at the Book Fair," Herald, July 23, 1996.
14 Vivian Maravanyika, "Scuffles break out at demo against GALZ," Sunday Mail, Harare, July 28, 1996.
15 "Censors board bans GALZ from Fair: End of the road ..." Herald, July 30, 1996.
16 "GALZ ban from Fair void," Herald, August 1, 1996.
17 Statement by Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, September 5, 1996.
18 Statement by Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, September 5, 1996. In subsequent years, GALZ was able to participate in the Fair by placing its materials on a stand owned by the fair itself and shared for free by a number of human rights organization. However, the state-controlled press continued to attack the organization's presence: in 1998, for instance, the Herald warned that "Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe are exhibiting at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair this year at a Human Rights Collective Stand but are distributing their pamphlets to children under 18 in defiance of conditions set by the fair organizers." "GALZ at Book Fair," Herald, August 8, 1998. GALZ responded by observing that its information "is entirely factual in nature and would not look out of place in any general encyclopedia-some of it is of a religious nature! A folded pamphlet describes the basic services of GALZ.... Although children have the basic right to information principally so they can protect themselves, GALZ realizes that, in a climate of intense homophobia, disseminating information to minors will be construed as recruiting children. For this reason, the Book Fair and GALZ have tried to ensure that GALZ literature is given only to adults. However, the graphic descriptions of homosexual acts which appear daily in the state newspapers and which are accessible to any child who can read, are a great deal more graphic than anything that is produced by GALZ." Statement from Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, August 7, 1998. Gradually GALZ's quiet presence came to be, if not entirely accepted, relatively unnoticed. An IGLHRC representative was present at the 2000 book fair on the day President Mugabe visited the grounds. His entourage mistakenly guided him toward the area where NGOs-many of them opponents of his regime-had their booths, the human rights stand among them. The GALZ representative there had time to cover up the organization's materials, and turn over his lapel to hide the rainbow flag he was wearing, before a confused Mugabe, trying to leave, barged toward the stand. He shook the GALZ representative's hand before hurrying out of the area.
19 "We must do something to curb rape, child abuse, and bestiality, but this is a different class": Mike Auret, director of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, quoted in "Castrate gays, Zimbabwe campaigner says," Reuters, March 5, 1997.
20 Only in the late 1990s, when questions of constitutional and land reform-and the emergence of a credible opposition party-galvanized the country, did civil society in Zimbabwe begin actively challenging state policy. One observer writes, "For most of the post-colonial period [in Zimbabwe], NGOs have maintained a cautious ambivalence towards the state, finding ways to accommodate the development discourse of the state and avoiding frontal, policy-lobbying confrontations with the government.... Within this context, McFadden (1999) [author of an unpublished study on Zimbabwean feminism] has criticised women's organisations who have tended to `shy away from making more radical demands of the state, preferring instead to work with and in the state, more often than not as an expression of the personal/class interests which the dominant leadership bring into the movement structure.'" Brian Raftopoulos, "The State, NGOs, and Democratisation," in Sam Moyo, John Makumbe, and Brian Raftopoulos, eds., NGOs, the State and Politics in Zimbabwe (Harare: SAPES Books, 2000), p. 45. GALZ (and particularly its programmes manager, Keith Goddard) -excluded from the start from the state's "development discourse," and with little or no opportunity to "work with" government institutions-may be credited with pioneering a new NGO style of using rights discourse to mount conspicuous public challenges to state policy. It has found imitators in civil society as the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates. Yet although it is far more closely embedded in civil society networks than anyone would have thought possible seven years earlier-partly due to its compelling rhetoric and example-it still has comparatively few open allies.
21 "16 days of deactivating?" GALZ Quarterly, January 1998, pp. 2-3.
22 "Zimbabwe's Mugabe attacks homosexuals again," Reuters, February 28, 1996.
23 "ZCC condemn homosexuality," Sunday Mail, June 16, 1996.
24 "Churches against homosexuals at world congress," Herald, June 15, 1996.
25 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Keith Goddard, Harare, Zimbabwe, December 8, 1998. See also Weston Kwete, "WCC Confirms GALZ's participation at forthcoming Harare conference," Sunday Mail, April 26, 1998. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, a human rights group, also spoke out on behalf of GALZ from the time of the book fair; like Ecumenical Support Services, it faced intense criticism as a result.
26 "Opposition mounts against gays, lesbians," Herald, May 28, 1998.
27 "ZCC condemns homosexuality," Herald, May 2, 1998.
28 "Opposition mounts against gays, lesbians," Herald, May 28, 1998.
29 Sure Mataramvura, "Homosexuality has no place in Christianity," Sunday Mail,
30 "Comment: Why this subject?" Sunday Mail, April 19, 1998.
31 Concern about Orthodox threats is reflected in internal WCC documents: see World Council of Churches Executive Committee, Document Number 7, "Orthodox Participation in the WCC: The Current Situation: Issues and Ways Forward," document dated September 15-18, 1998.
32 A sign of the WCC's exceptional caution in responding to rights violations in Zimbabwe-and to the issue of homosexuality-can be found in a 1994 letter from Konrad Reiser, General Secretary of the WCC, to a minister who had expressed concern over reports of arrests in Zimbabwe. The general assembly had already been scheduled for Harare in four years' time; Reiser, visiting Zimbabwe in preparation, had been asked to raise the arrests with the minister of home affairs. He responded by citing the imputation, invoked by Zimbabwean officials, that homosexuality and pedophilia were linked: "I have no information about the alleged detention of seven members of the Association of Gays and Lesbians in Zimbabwe and obviously have not been able to speak to the minister about these cases which have not been known to me. What has been pointed out to me is the fact that there have been cases where particularly young boys have been drawn into homosexual activities against their will and without the consent of their parents. Both church and government authorities have expressed concern about these developments and indicated that they would do whatever was necessary to prevent a continuation of such practices. Lacking any further detail, you will understand that I see no possibility for the WCC to take a public position. The government representatives in Zimbabwe with whom we have been in contact have been very cooperative and I would need to be convinced that we are faced with a situation of obvious injustice and harassment." Letter from Konrad Reiser to the Rev. Kittredge Cherry, September 6, 1994, on file with IGLHRC.
33 "Zimbabwe's Mugabe lashes out at homosexuals," Reuters, April 23, 1998; see also "Chikerema to be buried at Kutama cemetery on Saturday," The Herald, April 23, 1998.
34 "Zimbabwe President renews attack on homosexuals," Ecumenical News International, April 29, 1998.
35 "Gays pick-up point exposed," The Sunday Mail, May 24, 1998.
36 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Keith Goddard, Harare, Zimbabwe, December 6, 1998.
37 "Reporters receive death threats over GALZ story," Sunday Mail, May 31, 1998.
38 "Neighbors up in arms against gay `gigs,'" Sunday Mail, June 24, 1998.
39 Herald, May 28, 1998.
40 "Sunday mailbag" letter to the editor, Sunday Mail, June 7, 1998.
41 "Mbeki puts Mugabe in firing line," Sunday Times, South Africa, November 14, 1999; and "President Repeats `Gay Gangster' Accusation," Herald, November 13, 1999.
42 "British promoting gays, says Mugabe," Herald, March 13, 2000.
43 "Mugabe attacks Britain, gays at campaign rally," Agence-France Presse, February 2, 2002.
44 Chris McGreal, "Gay claims force out Mugabe's TV chief," Guardian, London, April 4, 2002.
45 "Court Hears of Alleged Moyo-Mpofu Gay Affair," Daily News, Harare, June 4, 2002.
46 Basildon Peta, "Zim leader sets his spies on a gay witchhunt," Star, South Africa, July 3, 2002.
47 Walter Marwizi, "Mugabe to Root Out Gays," Daily Standard, Harare, July 2, 2002.
48 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Rita Makarau, Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2000.
49 IGLHRC interview by Kagendo with Gwen Lister, Windhoek, Namibia, November 19, 2001.
50 Fred Mwilima, "Homosexuality is like cancer or the AIDS scourge. Hishongwa blasts gays," New Era, October 5-11, 1995.
51 Helmut Angula, "Homosexuality Is a Mental Disorder Which Can be Cured," three-part article, Namibian, November 10, 17, 24, 1995; a similar article appeared in New Era, December 21-27, 1995.
52 Christof Maletsky, "Govt planning to criminalise gays," Namibian, November 9, 1998. In a report which caused widespread fear, an Afrikaans newspaper indicated that Ekandjo's proposed legislation included compulsory castration for homosexual men: "Jerry: gays is nie mense nie," Die Republikein, November 9, 1998.
53 "Jerry in new anti-gay rant," Namibian, October 2, 2000.
54 Max Hamata, "Minister elaborates on anti-gay stance," Namibian, November 3, 2000.
55 Erhard Gunzel, "Nujoma blasts gays," Windhoek Advertiser, December 12, 1996. The quotation was released to the press by an anonymous woman present. Although the speech was filmed by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), exactly what the president said cannot be reconstructed. Less than a week later, NBC told print reporters that the tape had been destroyed. "NBC says tape of President's speech `erased,'" Windhoek Advertiser, December 18, 1996.
56 Alpheus !Naruseb, Department of Information and Publicity, SWAPO, in a press release by SWAPO, January 28, 1997. See "Alpheus comes out on gay issue," Namibian, January 29, 1997; and "Mr !Naruseb and the seeds of hate..." Windhoek Advertiser, January 31, 1997.
57 Erhard Gunzel, "President wants gays shut behind closed doors," Windhoek Advertiser, April 28, 1997.
58 "Authorities repeat threats against Namibian homosexuals," October 24, 2000, www.afrol.com/News/nam012_homophobia2/nam012_homophobia.2/htm, retrieved August 16, 2002.
59 "Gays `fearful' in Namibia," BBC News, March 20, 2001.
60 Christof Maletsky, "Homosexuals `to be barred from entering Namibia,'" Namibian, April 6, 2001.
61 The same speech reportedly warned Namibians against marrying foreigners, and urged a revival of traditional-customary, often polygynous-marriage as a response to HIV/AIDS: Oswald Shivute, "Round up gays, urges Nujoma," Namibian, April 2, 2001.
62 Christof Maletsky, "Madness `on the loose,' says Nujoma," Namibian, April 23, 2001.
63 The interview was conducted for the BBC but apparently not broadcast. See Tangeni Amupadhi, "Nujoma `ready' for fourth term," Namibian, April 10, 2001. The full text of the interview can be found at www.namibian.com.na.
64 Francis Zoagub, "SWC unleashes salvo at Women's Manifesto," Namibian, June 10, 1999.
65 For a full account of the controversy, see IGLHRC's report Written Out: How Sexuality Is Used to Attack Women's Organizing, 2000, pp. 119-133.
66 "Sister collective defends gays," New Era, November 2-8, 1995.
67 "Sister Namibia wants President to apologise," Namibian, January 17, 1997.
68 See, for instance, the booklet, My Rights and the Rights of Others, published by NSHR in 1998, which included images of gay men among other groups facing discrimination.
69 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Phil ya Nangoloh, National Society for Human Rights, Windoek, Namibia, December 16, 1998.
72 Human Rights Watch interview with one of the organizers (anonymous), Windhoek, Namibia, July 18, 2001.
73 Cited in Human Rights Watch interview with Ian Swartz, The Rainbow Project, Windhoek, Namibia, July 16, 2001.
75 Human Rights Watch interview with Phil ya Nangoloh, NSHR, Windhoek, Namibia, July 17, 2001.
76 Human Rights Watch interview with Norman Tjombe, Legal Action Center, Windhoek, Namibia, July 19, 2001.
77 Human Rights Watch interview with Ian Swartz, The Rainbow Project, Windhoek, Namibia, July 16, 2001.
78 Human Rights Watch interview with Phil ya Nangoloh, NSHR, Windhoek, Namibia, July 19, 2001.
79 "Press Release: The Ministry of Justice's Response to Attacks by the National Society For Human Rights in Namibia against Mr. Utoni Nujoma, Chairman of the law Reform and Development Commission and Government Coordinator for Human Rights," July 30, 2001, on file with IGLHRC.
80 IGLHRC interview by Kagendo with Gwen Lister, Windhoek, Namibia, November 19, 2001.
81 IGLHRC telephone interview by Scott Long with anonymous Namibian activist, March 23, 2000.
82 Max Hamata, "Minister elaborates on anti-gay stance," Namibian, November 3, 2000.
83 Werner Menges, "Gay rights dealt blow," Namibian, March 6, 2001. The Supreme Court decision was the result of a government appeal against an earlier High Court decision in Frank's favor-and was particularly painful because the High Court had in fact made a progressive finding in favor of sexual-orientation rights. Justice A. J. Levy, in the High Court decision, had held that Frank's and Khaxas' relationship could be construed as a "Universal Partnership" resembling what might elsewhere be called a common-law partnership, "as between a man and a woman living together as husband and wife but who have not been married by a marriage offer"-a status with some recognition in Namibian (Roman-Dutch) common law. It also found that the Namibian Constitution's prohibition, in article 10.2, of discrimination based on sex should require that a relationship between two women also qualify for recognition as a Universal Partnership. In so doing, the ruling had created a space for same-sex partnerships to be acknowledged in Namibian law. That decision-similar to an emerging pattern of jurisprudence in South Africa-had raised hopes that the courts could interpret equality protections in the Constitution in inclusive ways. (The constitution of Namibia, much more narrowly than that of South Africa, bars discrimination only on the basis of "sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.") High Court of Namibia, Frank and Khaxas v. Chairperson of the Immigration Selection Board, case no. A 56/99.
84 Frank's petition for residency was finally granted later that year, when the Ministry of Home Affairs relented. However, the concession came only after the government had won on its point of principle. The highest court cited Nujoma's and Ekandjo's own remarks as evidence that Namibian norms and values opposed equality protections based on sexual orientation: it concluded that constitutional anti-discrimination provisions did not mandate recognition of same-sex relationships.
85 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Henning Melber, NEPRU, Windhoek, Namibia, December 16, 1998.
86 Maggi Barnard, "Nujoma targets imperialism, gays," Namibian, August 19, 2002.
87 Goodson Machona, "I'm 25, gay with 33 sex partners," Post, July 14, 1998.
88 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Francis Chisambisha, Lusaka, Zambia, December 3, 1998.
89 "Zulu defends homosexual," Post, July 15, 1998.
90 Dickson Jere, "Another gay surfaces," Post, August 24, 1998.
91 IGLHRC interviews by Scott Long with Gershom Musonda, Zambia Independent Monitoring Team (ZIMT), and Francis Chisambisha, Lusaka, Zambia, December 2 and 3, 1998.
92 Pauline Banda, "Gender Focus: Homosexuality not new but can be stopped here," Zambia Daily Mail, September 17, 1998.
93 Vincent Zulu and Victor Chitafu, "Homo Party? Not here!" Sunday Times of Zambia, September 6, 1998.
94 Clive Kawana, "Cry our beloved Zambia: Homosexuality is an evil act," National Mirror, November 1-7, 1998.
95 Wam Kwaleyla, "Just chatting: Homos, lesbians, go to hell," Zambia Daily Mail, September 19, 1998.
96 Goodson Machona, "KK defends homos: the issue has `come to stay,'" Post, October 12, 1998.
97 Joe Chilaizya, "The High Price of Homosexuality," Times of Zambia, October 20, 1998.
98 Sam Kaseba, "Gay rights a sad story, says Kaunda," Times of Zambia, October 24, 1998; and Dickson Jere,"Homos are sick, charges KK," Post, October 23, 1998.
99 Goodson Machona, "Zulu defends homosexual," Post, July 15, 1998.
100 At one point he announced that Zambia's gays and lesbians numbered over half a million, creating visions of NGOs of unprecedented size changing the country's political scene. See "Zambia has 500,000 gays, says Zimt," Post, September 3, 1998. At another, he warned there were homosexuals in government, prompting the home affairs minister to demand details, and eliciting a Times of Zambia headline declaring "Zulu must name state sodomites."
101 Patrick Kangumu, "Students jeer ZIMT chiefs," Zambia Daily Mail, October 16, 1998; IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Alfred Zulu, Lusaka, Zambia, December 2, 1998.
102 Goodson Machona, "Gays form NGO," Post, August 31, 1998; and IGLHRC interviews by Scott Long with Alfred Zulu and Gershom Musonda, ZIMT, December 2, 1998, with Francis Chisambisha, Decem ber 3, 1998, and with "Charles Phiri," December 2, 1998, all in Lusaka, Zambia.
103 "Zambia has 500,000 gays, says ZIMT," Post, September 3, 1998; Dickson Kaminda, "Gay promoters face arrest," Daily Mail, September 4, 1998; and "Zambia issues warning on gay associations," Herald, Harare, September 5, 1998.
104 Mactrevor Bwalya, "Gays' grouping plan thrown out," Times of Zambia, September 3, 1998.
105 Kelvin Shimo, "`Homosexuality gives rise to AIDS,'" Post, undated clipping, 1998.
106 "You will be arrested, gay lobbyists warned," Times of Zambia, September 23, 1998.
107 Amos Malupenga, "Gay activists to be arrested," Post, September 23, 1998.
108 Kelvin Shimo, "Clamp-down on gays begins: Police pursue homos," Post, October 19, 1998.
109 "Chiluba Blasts Gays," Times of Zambia, October 19,l 1998.
110 See I. Mwanawina, "Zambia," in Aderanti Adepoju, ed., The Impact of Structural Adjustment on the Population of Africa: The Implications for Education, Health, and Employment, UNFPA (London: James Currey, 1993). See also, N. R. Simutanyi, "Organised Labour, Economic Crisis and Structural Adjustment in Africa: The Case of Zambia," and O. B. Sichone, "Democracy and Crisis in Zambia," both in Democracy in Zambia: Challenges for the Third Republic, ed. Owen Sichone and Bornwell Chikulo (Harare: Sapes Books, 1996).
111 Muleya Mwananyanda of the Zambian human rights group Afronet told IGLHRC that Chiluba's constitutional commitment to a "Christian nation" was partly an effort to give his ramshackle coalition an ideology: "Kaunda had his humanist thing, so Chiluba thought, I will have my Christian thing." IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Muleya Mwananyanda, Afronet, Lusaka, Zambia, December 2, 1998. "Humanism," a vague synthesis and resembling a form of Christian socialism, had become the official ideology of Kenneth Kaunda's one-party state in the 1970s. With similarities to Julius Nyerere's Ujamaa philosophy in Tanzania, it stressed "traditional society as a kind of extended family encompass[ing] moral, political and economic relations": Henry S. Meebelo, Main Currents of Zambian Humanist Thought (Lusaka: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 4. If Chiluba's change of ideology and phrase had any consequences in the practical realm, it was to replace the extended networks of Kaunda's UNIP government with a more nuclear and patriarchal style and circle.
112 Reuben Phiri, "Mambo attacks Zulu for defending homosexual," Post, July 16, 1998.
113 "Mambo, gay rights lobbyist differ," Times of Zambia, October 8, 1998; and IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Alfred Zulu, ZIMT, Lusaka, Zambia, December 2, 1998. Mambo, along with other leaders, saw the banning of homosexual organizations as analogous to the banning of certain missionary religious organizations which threatened the popular reach of older churches: thus Mambo also urged the government to control the registration of churches and to prohibit "Satanic churches." Lorraine Makumba, "Universal Church ban hailed," The Times of Zambia, September 4, 1998.
114 Pauline Banda, "Gender Focus: Homosexuality not new but can be stopped here," Zambia Daily Mail, September 17, 1998.
115 Vanessa Furlong, "Homosexuality: Christian counselling is the answer," Zambia Daily Mail, undated.
116 Justine Mwiinga, "TAZ chief condemns homos, lesbians," Zambia Daily Mail, September 16, 1998; and "Madondo speaks out on gays," Times of Zambia, September 18, 1998.
117 "More condemn gay movement formation," Times of Zambia, undated.
118 "Arrest ZIMT officials," Times of Zambia, October 22, 1998.
119 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Muleya Mwananyanda, Afronet, Lusaka, Zambia, December 2, 1998.
120 "Gays risk prosecution, warns LAZ," Times of Zambia, undated clipping, 1998.
121 Kalila Chellah-Kunda, quoted in "Gays' meeting erupts," Times of Zambia, September 3, 1998.
122 Rev. Lloyd Salimboshi, quoted in "Legatra calls for autonomy of registrar," Post, undated clipping.
123 Quoted in Reuben Phiri, "Mambo attacks Zulu for defending homosexual," Post, July 16, 1998.
124 Dickson Jere, "Another gay surfaces," Post, August 24, 1998.
125 Acting Dean of Student Affairs Darlington Banda, quoted in Douglas Hampande, "Homos shouldn't corrupt Zambians," Post, September 29, 1998.
126 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Judge Phyllis Lombe Chibesakunda, Reverend. F. D. Sakala, and Lass Mufusi, Zambian Permanent Human Rights Commission, Lusaka, Zambia, December 5, 1998. See also Nicky Shabolyo, "Rights body mute on gays," Daily Mail, September 22, 1998.
127 "Norwegian envoy supports gay movement," September 18, 1998; "Gays' meeting erupts," Times of Zambia, September 18, 1998.
128 K. Phiri, "Are Donors Gay?" Times of Zambia, October 22, 1998.
129 "Gay rights no condition for Japanese aid," Times of Zambia, October 21, 1998.
130 "Opinon," Times of Zambia, undated clipping, 1998.
131 Mutale Mwamba, "Envoy Summoned," Times of Zambia, undated clipping, 1998
132 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with official who wished to remain anonymous, Embassy of Norway, Lusaka, Zambia, December 4, 1998.
133 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Anders Pedersen, first secretary-political, Embassy of Sweden, Lusaka, Zambia, December 4, 1998.
134 See Owen B. Sichone, "Problems of the State and Civil Society," in Democracy in Zambia, ed. Owen Sichone and Bornwell C. Chikulo (Harare: Sapes Books, 1996).
135 IGLHRC interviews by Scott Long with Francis Chisambisha, Lusaka, December 3, 1998, and with Buumba S., Lusaka, Zambia, December 3, 1998.
136 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Gershom Musonda, ZIMT, Lusaka, Zambia, December 2, 1998.
137 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Herbert Nyendwa, Registrar of Societies, Lusaka, Zambia, December 4, 1998.
138 IGLHRC telephone interview by Scott Long with Zackie Achmat, November 22, 1998. For a not-dissimilar account of the effects of structural adjustment and government retrenchment on general political life in Zambia, and the resort to "ritual politics" in the face of state impotence, see Owen B. Sichone, "The Sacred and the Obscene: Personal Notes on Political Ritual, Poverty and Democracy in Zambia," in Jonathan Hyslop, ed., African Democracy in the Era of Globalisation (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1999).
139 Molosiwa Selepeng, political affairs secretary to the president of Botswana, and Botsalo Ntuane, BDP executive secretary, both quoted in "The people say no to homosexuality: and the government abides by their will," Midweek Sun, Gaborone, Botswana, June 3, 1998.
140 "Vice President Khama harshly denounced homosexuality," Midweek Sun, undated clipping, 1998.
141 Billy Kokorwe, "Whip them or jail them: Kgosi Seepapitso's view on homosexuals," Midweek Sun, June 17, 1998.
142 Outsa Mokone, "Evangelical backlash on gays," Gazette, Gaborone, Botswana, May 27, 1998.
143 Joseph Balise, "`Gays' rights must be respected,'" Sunday Tribune, Gaborone, September 3, 1995; and Kebonye Seretse, "Ditshwanelo discusses rights of homosexuals," Botswana Daily News, Gaborone, Botswana, October 5, 1995.
144 IGLHRC interview by Kagendo with Gideon Duma Boko, Gaborone, Botswana, December 9, 1998. See also Outsa Mokone, "Gays and lesbians join hands with Ditshwanelo," Botswana Gazette, Gaborone, Botswana, May 13, 1998.
145 "Sodom and Gomorrah: Churches warn against the decriminalization of homosexuality," Midweek Sun,Gaborone, May 27, 1998. The debate continued into the following year; at a University of Botswana panel in early 1999, a "right-wing youth activist" stated, to approval from the student audience, that the country was "traumatised by homosexuality" and other "ideas from overseas and donors." "Botswana debates the relaxation of anti-gay laws," Johannesburg Daily Mail and Guardian, January 19, 1999.
146 Mesh Moeti, "Makhulu's liberal gay views," Mmegi Monitor/The Reporter, Gaborone, Botswana, November 3-9, 1995.
147 "Botswana president: `Don't be judgmental on homosexuals," at http://www.mask.org.za (citing a report in the Mmegi Monitor, Gaborone, Botswana), retrieved August 17, 2002.
148 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Mike, Gaborone, Botswana, December 18, 1998; and IGLHRC interview by Kagendo with Joseph, Gaborone, Botswana, November 8, 2001.
149 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Father Richard Chance, Gaborone, Botswana, December 19, 1998. Homophobic rhetoric and state abuse, sometimes accompanied by the approval of religious authorities, have spread far to the north in Africa. In another example, in 1998, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda told a press conference, "When I was in America, some time ago, I saw a rally of 300,000 homosexuals. If you have a rally of 20 homosexuals here, I would disperse it." ("Museveni warns off homosexuals, Monitor, Kampala, Uganda, July 22, 1998.) His minister of gender, labour, and social development later warned, "The West is bringing up homosexuality and lesbianism under a different name, called sexual orientation ... These people want their ideas to be focused in every programme, in case you come across something like sexual orientation, you have to think twice before you defend it." (Minister Janet Mukwaya, quoted in "Minister warns of homosexuals," Crusader, Kampala, Uganda, August 18, 1998.) In September, 1999, after (inaccurate) published reports of a wedding between two men in Uganda, Museveni told a conference on reproductive health: "I have told the CID [Criminal Investigations Department] to look for homosexuals, lock them up and charge them." ("Museveni opens a war on gay men," Monitor, September 28, 1999. See also "Wandegeya homos marry," Sunday Vision, Kampala, Uganda, September 12, 1999; "Police probe Kampala's homosexual weddings," New Vision, Kampala, Uganda, September 13, 1999; and "Museveni, police homo probe out: `Story was made up,'" Monitor, October 5, 1999.) A few days after Museveni's outburst, Kenya's then President Daniel Arap Moi-apparently prompted by a similar rumor of a gay wedding there-declared, "Homosexuality has no place in Kenya." (John Kamau, "Gay wedding row forces government to open the closet," Sunday News, Dar es Salaam, November 7, 1999.)
In Uganda in 1999, several people were jailed in the wake of Museveni's mandate. Five men and women who had formed a tiny lesbian and gay group were tortured. Others, terrified, fled the country. Meanwhile, the head of Uganda's Anglican Church, Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyooyo, proclaimed immediate support for Museveni. (Daniel Elwana, "Church backs Museveni against homosexuality," Daily Nation, Kampala, Uganda, November 14, 1999.) A key official in Museveni's governing Movement published an article on homosexuality which he declared "the official Movement position on the matter." He charged Uganda's "elite and intellectuals" with abandoning their own society: "Just because they have heard that homosexuality exists even amongst the most powerful institutions of the developed societies such as governments, IMF, and World Bank, they believe that these can be some of the virtues which can be packaged to develop the Third World. The starting point is that homosexuality has, hitherto, not been known or practiced in our communities." (James Magode Ikuya, deputy director of information and public relations at the Movement Secretariat, "Movt can never embrace homos," Monitor, undated clipping, November 1999.) And in March, 2002, while accepting an award for his country's HIV/AIDS prevention programs, President Museveni said, "We don't have homosexuals in Uganda." ("Commonwealth honors Museveni," New Vision, March 4, 2002.) See also Amnesty International Appeal, "Uganda: Criminalizing Homosexuality: A License to Torture," June 27, 2001; and Amnesty International, Crimes of Hate, Conspiracy of Silence: Torture and Ill-Treatment Based on Sexual Identity, AC 40/016/2001, pp. 4-6.
150 Quoted in Dunton and Palmberg, "Human Rights and Homosexuality in Southern Africa," p. 37.
151 African National Congress, "ANC Policy Guidelines for a Democratic South Africa," as adopted at National Conference, 28-31 May 1992; clause B5.1.8, in a section outlining the ANC's position on the Bill of Rights for the prospective new constitution, said any bill must respect "the right not to be discriminated against or subjected to harassment because of sexual orientation."
152 IGLHRC interview by Scott Long with Rita Makarau, Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2000.
153 See Pierre de Vos, "On the Legal Construction of Gay and Lesbian Identity and South Africa's Transitional Constitution," South African Journal on Human Rights, Vol. 12, No. 2 (1996), pp. 265-290.
154 Quoted in Written Out: How Sexuality Is Used to Attack Women's Organizing, an IGLHRC report, 2000, pp. 67-68.
155 Sachs J, Concurring Opinion, National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality et. al. v Minister of Justice et. al., Constitutional Court of South Africa, Case CCT 11/98, at 134-137.