Same-sex marriage not a priority in Zimbabwe – Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that he will obey the Constitution with regards to gay rights and same-sex marriage adding that it is not the priority of his administration as the main focus is hooked on the economic recovery.

                                           By Charles Lotara

According to Section 78(3) of the Constitution “Persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other” and the President pointed that,  those who like it would have to win against the majority who are largely opposed to the so-called rights so as to allow for the amendment of the constitution favorable to their sexual orientation.

Speaking to CNN’s Richard Quest at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Mnangagwa declared that he will uphold the constitution and said that he will not campaign for same-sex rights but those who support such rights should lobby for them instead.

“I’m a constitutionalist, the current provision in the constitution forbids same sex marriages and I will uphold it. In our current constitution it is banned. No, I will not lead the campaign, those people who want that are the people who must canvass for such things so that if they are able to win the majority in amending the constitution they will amend it but it’s not my duty on that issue to say that I want to campaign for this, no.

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When asked that it was his duty as the president to uphold human rights as recommended by the United Nations, Mnangagwa said, “My duty is to obey my constitution and I will not be persuaded to violate my constitution. Currently the constitution says what I have said. I am not and it is not our priority in Zimbabwe to deal with that issue.

“During 2013 when everybody was able to canvass, those who canvassed for that position lost it. We go by the majority view of our people and currently the majority views are what I’m considering,” he added

Mnangagwa says, his priority is not only to revive the decades-long economic meltdown of the country and improve the living standard of Zimbabweans, but it is also to embrace the international and the business community, hence those who want to work with Zimbabwe would be in a position to give their terms and conditions.

“I don’t think my priority today is only to grow our economy and raise the living standard of my people but it is also to embrace the international community and business community and say, Zimbabwe is open for business. Let people who want to invest in Zimbabwe say, this is what they want, this is what they want.

“It’s not the question of getting dollars in Zimbabwe, it’s a question of having functional economy, functional infrastructure in terms of highway, functional manufacturing sector. I must modernize and mechanize my agriculture in Zimbabwe, I must have a developed mining sector in Zimbabwe, and these are the things as far as I’m concerned my people look at for government to address and facilitate for the development of the country and the region,” he said

This news is likely to be welcomed by Zimbabweans which like many other African countries is still very conservative when it comes to homosexuality. Mnangagwa is vividly opposed to homosexuality like his predecessor Robert Mugabe who viciously hated ‘gay rights’ and is on record for saying that homosexuals are worse than dogs and pigs.

President Emmerson MnangagwaRichard QuestRobert MugabeWorld Economic ForumZANUPF