INDEPENDENT MP for Norton, Temba Mliswa has made a surprise tone down of his anti-gay stance, adding that Zimbabweans should embrace se_xual minorities in honour of Zimbabwe’s late founding President Canaan Banana.
Mliswa on Tuesday took a swipe at Zimbabweans who remained anti-gay, saying the country had top executives and military generals who were homose_xuals.
The former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chair was responding to social media claims he had converted to being gay when he was last week reconciled with Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere whom he has labelled a gay gangster.
Mliswa insisted he himself was not gay, but took time to lay into those who despised gays.
“If I was homose_xual, I would be the first person to say I am because I have a right to that. I don’t fight them, I don’t have an issue; I have an issue with those who are not open,” said Mliswa.
In past interviews with the local media, Mliswa has ranted against Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo, accusing them of being gays.
The words “gay gangster” are often used by some Zanu PF politicians to insult rivals.
Likewise, Mliswa has in the past found the insult too convenient while referring to Kasukuwere whom he accuses of masterminding his expulsion from Zanu PF.
“We have got top people in offices who are that way inclined as long as it has nothing to do with me. So you know me if I was homose_xual I would certainly say so because there is nothing wrong with that.
It’s freedom of association …let’s not be choosy when to exercise democracy.”
He continued: “The world is like that (gay). The top leaders, the generals are like that. Just that Zimbabweans must be open. In fact, if I was the President of this country, I would actually make sure people are free to associate with whoever they want. There is no point hiding it when it is happening. In this country there are so many young kids who are into it but because we are not open they are doing it clandestinely which is more dangerous.”
President Robert Mugabe is a fierce critic of gays and lesbians.Zimbabwe’s conservative society is also anti-gay.
But Mliswa had advice for them, adding that embracing gays would be in honour of Banana.
“We are in a modern world where these things are happening but we want to hide them; we want to pretend as if they are not happening,” said the fiery businessman and farmer.
“We had a former President who was that way inclined. What’s so new to Zimbabwe? If there is anything, through that President in respect of him, we should now open up. He led the country as a President. In honour of him, who he was, let it be and let people do what they want to do. Why should we worry about that!”
Born in 1936 and dying of an ailment in London 2003, Banana was the country’s non-executive President between 1980 and 1987.
A former Methodist minister, Banana was found guilty in 1999 of 11 counts of so_domy and abusing his power to se_xually assault and carry out “unnatural acts” with men, most of who were on his presidential staff.