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This article participates on the following special index pages:
2002 Presidential & Harare Municipal elections - Index of articles
the Presidential Election
and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
March 15, 2002
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.
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 falsly 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
polarised 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 organised 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.
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 honour and respect
to be derived from any victory soiled by a trail of deliberate frustration,
flagarant abuse of people and open disregard for human values of
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