GALZ Statement on the Court Judgement of Ricky Nathanson


We welcome the acquittal of Ricky Nathanson on a charge of “Criminal Nuisance” on Tuesday 4 February by a Bulawayo Magistrate. The unfortunate arrest of Ricky and the subsequent judgement by Magistrate Abednico Ndebele proves that the Police continue to use knee-jerk reactions to cases involving the LGBTI community. It would seem that the officer investigating Ricky Nathanson’s case acted unilaterally and without proper thought to the consequences of their actions. Such ignorance of the law flies in the face of the recently promulgated Zimbabwe Constitution that guarantees the inherent dignity of people in their private and public life and to have that dignity respected and protected.

Recent court developments have helped to highlight that the plight of the LGBTI community in Zimbabwe continues to be at the mercy of dedicated Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the courts, a situation that can be ameliorated if the State through the Zimbabwe Republic Police could uphold and respect the fundamental human rights of all citizens including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

This and other court outcomes relating to LGBTI issues, buttresses our call for the Zimbabwe Republic Police to realign its training curriculum with provisions of the new Constitution if it seeks to promote effective and efficient service to the people of Zimbabwe. We impress upon the Police Officers and Zimbabweans as whole to reflect upon their attitudes towards human sexuality and gender. This is particularly important in the promotion of a human-rights culture in Zimbabwe at a time when attitudes to gender and sexuality are a significant contributing factor in addressing challenges around HIV.

GALZ also encourages the Zimbabwe Republic Police to support organisations in the fields of sexual rights and HIV/AIDS to develop sensible and sensitive strategies for interventions amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people as well as other marginalized groups//ENDS