5 July 2002

Mugabe inquisition into gay politicians

President Robert Mugabe has ordered his intelligence agency to investigate and compile a list of possible gay ministers and officials in the Zimbabwe government. Mugabe who well known for his hatred of gays and lesbians has ordered the Central Intelligence Organisation to spy on possible gay people in his administration. How CIO officials will arrive at their conclusions is unclear. "That is inside information ... those tasked with the job know how best to achieve it," one said. Mr Mugabe may use the list to rid his cabinet of gays. Officials said he became furious when allegations of homosexuality were raised against the former president Canaan Banana. Mr Banana fled the country before being charged and convicted in 1998 of sodomising an aide.

Alum Mpofu, one of Mr Mugabe's chief propagandists during the March presidential elections and the former head of the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, resigned from his post after allegations of homosexuality were levelled against him. Mr Mpofu was caught in a compromising position with a man at a Harare nightclub. Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's spokesman and close ally, has also been implicated in an alleged homosexual affair with Mr Mpofu.

In a separate development, four commercial farmers have been formally charged with disobeying a ban on farming activity on land targeted for redistribution. Commercial Farmers Union spokeswoman Jenni Williams confirmed to IRIN that four farmers had been formally charged while another 11 had been asked to report to the police station. AFP reported that all 15 farmers in Chiredzi, in southern Zimbabwe, had been ordered to make warned and cautioned statements at their local police station. Nearly 2.900 farmers had been served with notices informing them that their land was targeted for acquisition by the state and ordering them to cease farming. The 15 are the first to be acted against in terms of the order. (ZWNews / Independent, IRIN)

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