Zimbabwe LGBT Laws

Censorship, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CIVIL RIGHTS]
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 04 October 2016, the High Court upheld a month-long police ban on protests in Harare on the grounds that this was necessary to preserve peace [R1.1].

R1.1 MediaNigeria: Court Keeps Police Ban On Protests 05 OCT 16
Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Human Rights Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CENSORSHIP]
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 22 November 2013, Magistrate Elijah Makomo discharged the case against Abel Chikomo, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, who had been on trial for allegedly running an “unregistered” organization in contravention of the Private Voluntary Organization (PVO) Act (Chapter 17:15) finding that State prosecutors had failed to establish a prima facie case against the human rights campaigner [R1.1].

R1.1 DailyQueerNews: Major Court Victory for Zimbabwe Human Rights Defender 24 NOV 13
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [VIOLENCE] [HIV / AIDS]
1. National

In May 2010, the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said gay rights would not be included in the country’s new constitution and the body’s outreach teams will not elicit any views on the issue [R1.2].

In January 1997, President Robert Mugabe, characterised gays and lesbians as “no better than pigs or dogs” and has called for the arrest of anyone “caught practicing homosexuality” [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 26 October 2015, Labour Court president Justice Evangelista Kabasa ruled no person should be fired from work on the basis of their sexual orientation. Raymond Sibanda, from Bulawayo, was fired as a youth officer by the Ministry of Youth and Economic Empowerment for allegedly ‘engaging in homosexual activities’ [R2.1].

R1.2 The Zimbabwe Guardian: Gay rights dismissed in new constitution 23 MAY 10
R1.1 Sydney Star Observer: Namibian Homosexual Attack 03 JAN 97
R2.1 GayStarNews: There has just been an actual gay rights victory in Zimbabwe 27 OCT 15
HIV Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

People living with HIV face a particularly high level of discrimination, and many people fear that if they are found to be HIV-positive they will be victimised [R1.1.].

In February 1997, an uncorroborated report suggested that discrimination against people with HIV was banned [R1.2].

[Ed: This latter report seems highly unlikely].

R1.1 Avert.org: Introduction to HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe 07 APR 09 (Accessed 03 JUN 09)
R1.2 Capital Q: Ban on HIV Discrimination 21 FEB 97
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9.23], Act 23/2004 (Effective 01 July 2006) [L1.3].

Section 67. Indecent Assault

(1) A person who

(a) being a male person—

(ii) commits upon a male person any act involving physical contact that would be regarded by a reasonable person to be an indecent act, other than anal sexual intercourse or other act involving the penetration of any part of the male person’s body or of his own body … with indecent intent and knowing that the other person has not consented to it or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that the other person may not have consented to it, shall be guilty of indecent assault and liable to a fine not exceeding level seven or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or both.

Section 73. Sodomy

“(1) Any male person who, with the consent of another male person, knowingly performs with that other person anal sexual intercourse, or any act involving physical contact other than anal sexual intercourse that would be regarded by a reasonable person to be an indecent act, shall be guilty of sodomy and liable to a fine up to or exceeding level fourteen or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), both parties to the performance of an act referred to in subsection (1) may be charged with and convicted of sodomy.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt it is declared that the competent charge against a male person who performs anal sexual intercourse with or commits an indecent act upon a young male person –

(a) who is below the age of twelve years, shall be aggravated indecent assault or indecent assault, as the case may be; or
(b) who is of or above the age of twelve years but below the age of sixteen years and without the consent of such young male person, shall be aggravated indecent assault or indecent assault, as the case may be; or
(c) who is of or above the age of twelve years but below the age of sixteen years and with the consent of such young male person, shall be performing an indecent act with a young person” (emphasis added).

On 30 September 2014, the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) said the continued use of ‘gay’ and ‘homosexuality’ as insult words by people in authority was not just offending to them as gays but was hate language [R1.4].

Effective 01 July 2006, homosexuality as such is not illegal. But sodomy – narrowly defined as anal sex between men – is [L1.3], [R1.2].

And, ” … any act involving physical contact other than anal sexual intercourse that would be regarded by a reasonable person to be an indecent act … ” is included within the ambit of “sodomy” [L1.3].

In July 2006, the government has made it a criminal offense for two people of the same sex to hold hands, hug, or kiss [R1.1].

R1.4 NewZimbabwe: Gay not an insult word, GALZ 02 OCT 14
L1.3 Kubatana.net: Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9.23] PDF 1.02MB, 03 JUN 05
R1.2 The Mail & Guardian: Zim gays: ‘Dogs and pigs’ no more? 24 MAY 04
R1.1 365gay.com: Same-Sex Handholding Now Illegal in Zimbabwe 17 JUL 06
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 10 May 2019, it was reported that the Cabinet had approved the Marriages Amendment Bill, which will see the repeal and replacement of the Customary Marriages Act (Chapter 5:07) and the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:11) with a new law which, in line with the constitution, will prohibit child and same sex marriages, among other things [R1.3].

In January 2013, Section 78 (3) of the new draft Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that “Persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other” [L1.2], [R1.1.].

R1.3 NewsdzeZimbabwe: Same Sex Marriages Banned in Zim 10 MAY 19
L1.2 Constitution of Zimbabwe (Final Draft : January 2013) PDF 982.37kb, 28 JAN 13
R1.1 PinkNews: Zimbabwe: New draft constitution includes equal marriage ban 29 JAN 13
Privacy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In 2003, Section 25 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), reportedly read:

“Protection of information relating to personal privacy:

(1) The head of a public body shall not disclose personal information to an applicant if the disclosure will result in the unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy.” “Personal information” is defined and includes a person’s age, sex and sexual orientation, marital and family status [R1.1].

On 22 November 2011, Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (Galz) president Chester Samba said they would name Zanu PF politicians who lambast them yet they engage in homosexual activities with his organisation’s members. [R1.1.].

R1.1 The Zimbabwe Mail: Zanu PF rocked by gay rights storm 22 NOV 11
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In September 2012, Association of Gay and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) members were reportedly continually being harassed and persecuted in an increasingly hostile climate to LGBT people and the government announced that charges that will be brought against the association for running an ‘unregistered’ organization, and ‘undermining the authority of the President’ [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 16 December 2010, the Magistrates’ Court in Harare acquitted Ellen Chademana, an administrative assistant at the prominent NGO Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), charged with possession of pornographic materials [R2.1].

Amnesty International alleges that staff members of GALZ have faced repeated harassment and intimidation for carrying out legitimate work to protect the rights of Zimbabwe’s LGBT community [R2.1.].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Zimbabwe shuts, sues and persecutes gay association 10 SEP 12
R2.1 Amnesty International: Zimbabwe court acquits LGBT activist 17 DEC 10