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Zimbabwe's GALZ Issues Statement
on Presidential Election

Compiled by GayToday

Harare, Zimbabwe--The following statement has been received from the Zimbabwean non-governmental organization Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) on Zimbabwe's recent presidential election:

Regarding the Presidential Election

The British sexuality historian, Jeffrey Weeks, once described globalisation as the tide of history against which one cannot successfully fight and which no one can reverse. The recently-ended Zimbabwean presidential elections certainly indicate the global trend towards the demand for multi-party transparent democracies throughout the world.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has faced criticism from international observers who claim his latest election victory was bought through violence and intimidation

The result is less important than the process and that is why GALZ has repeatedly stated that the election was not necessarily the great watershed that it was mooted to be. Just the high turn out and the indefatigable determination people exhibited in lengthy queues show that Zimbabweans are committed to involving themselves in building democratic structures.

There is no doubt in many minds that we still have far to go in Zimbabwe before we can be said to be a mature democracy. Political violence and intimidation, deliberate disenfranchisement and the blatant suppression of voices along the campaign trail are all to be roundly condemned. Deliberate lying (such as that by The Chronicle which falsely claimed secret meetings between the opposition leader and GALZ and that GALZ was openly campaigning for MDC) is unbecoming in an election campaign.

It is healthy for a country to have a strong opposition that keeps those in power accountable to the electorate but we are now a strongly polarized nation and not yet at the stage where many of us will tolerate people with political affiliations which differ from our own. We must learn to talk through our differences peacefully rather than to hate and fear each other, attack violently or seek revenge.

Non-violent activism is the most constructive and viable alternative to organized violence. Consistently guided by international fundamental principles of fairness and justice, GALZ has made considerable gains in winning acceptance and respect for lesbian and gay people in Zimbabwe and these gains cannot be reversed. For us, violence, intimidation and the twisting of truths are meaningless gestures of the desperate.

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Related Sites:
Gays & Lesbians of Zimbabwe
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Unfortunately, the move in this country towards true multi-party democracy is coming at a high cost and the damage so far has been considerable. We need to stop tearing each other apart and reflect upon our own position and feelings by being honest with and true to ourselves.

It is hypocritical for us to accuse others of intolerance when we may in fact be highly intolerant of difference ourselves. There is no honor and respect to be derived from any victory soiled by a trail of deliberate frustration, flagrant abuse of people and open disregard for human values of fair play.

Keith Goddard Programmes Manager/GALZ

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