Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has employed a spy agency implicated in the torture and disappearance of political dissidents to investigate and compile a register of suspected homosexuals in his government.
The witch-hunt comes amidst allegations that one of the Mugabe government’s key supporters, Zimbabwe Broad-casting Corporation head Alum Mpofu, had an affair with Mugabe’s controversial chief spokesperson and informa-tion minister, Jonathan Moyo.
Mpofu had been forced to resign from his position earlier in the year when allegations of homosexuality surfaced after he was caught in a compromising position with another man in an Harare nightclub.
Anonymous sources quoted in South African-based newspaper The Star said Mugabe was outraged to discover evidence there were homosexuals within in his government.
In an interview with Sydney Star Observer this week, London-based activist Peter Tatchell expressed concern that those tracked down in the witch-hunt will face criminal prosecution.
Mugabe is obviously hugely embarrassed that despite his vicious anti-gay crusade, a number of people in his government are apparently gay. It exposes him to charges of hypocrisy and ridicule, Tatchell said.
Traditionally gay men and lesbians who suffer police harassment are physically roughed-up, but there is probably some restraint when it comes to members of the elite.
However, there is a strong chance that these men will face criminal prosecution. That is what happened to the former Zimbabwean president when his homosexuality was exposed, he ended up with a jail term.
Arguably the most embarrassing allegations for the Mugabe government surfaced in recent weeks, after opposition MP Jon Sikhala told a Magistrate’s Court that he had heard of an affair between Jonathan Moyo -“ a key ally of Mugabe -“ and Alum Mpofu.
To avoid further scandal, the Zimbabwean president has employed the nation’s Central Intelligence Organisation to spy on suspected homosexuals within his administration.
It is currently unclear how the CIO will run their investigation and how they will deal with suspected homosexuals if they are discovered. That is inside information, a government official told London-based newspaper The Independent. Those tasked with the job know best how to achieve it.
Tatchell, who was knocked unconscious by members of the CIO in Brussels last year after he tried to conduct a citizen’s arrest of Mugabe for breaches of human rights, described the CIO as a shadowy and sinister organisation.
The CIO is implicated in the torture, disappearance and murder of Mugabe’s political opponents. Its agents knocked me unconscious in Brussels in the heart of a European capital in broad daylight in front of international press, Tatchell said.
That shows how ruthless they are. They are obviously prepared to do a lot worse when the world’s media is not watching.