Mozambique scraps colonial-era homosexuality ban

gay marriage. PHOTO:

gay marriage. PHOTO:

Mozambique decriminalised homosexuality on Monday when a new penal code came into force that swept away old Portuguese colonial laws, in a victory for campaigners for gay rights in Africa.

The old code, dating back to 1886, targeted anyone “who habitually engages in vices against nature” — but no known prosecutions took place after Mozambique became independent in 1975.

Breaking the law was theoretically punishable by up to three years of hard labour.

“It’s a symbolic victory, as social inclusion remains the main challenge,” Frank, a student gay rights activist who declined to give his full name, told AFP.

The new penal code, which was announced last December by then president Armando Guebuza, also decriminalises abortion after lobbying by civil rights organisations.

The code came into force on Monday, though no official events or celebrations were scheduled to mark the occasion.

The majority of African countries outlaw homosexuality, but Mozambique has seen little anti-gay violence or social friction over the issue.

Dercio Tsandzana, an influential blogger and activist, said there had been an absence of public discussion over homosexual rights.

“The government instead abides by the external pressure put by some embassies and foreign donors,” he said.

“Most Mozambicans don’t deny homosexuality, but one can’t say either that it is accepted.”

Despite a seven-year campaign, the Mozambican government has not officially recognised Lambda, the only gay rights organisation in the country.

In neighbouring Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe is known for his crusades against homosexuality, and discrimination is widespread across the continent.

Homosexuality is punishable by death in Sudan, Nigeria and Mauritania.

In New York, hundreds of thousands of people attended the annual Gay Pride march on Sunday after the US Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage.

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  • dawari

    It means, African nations are ready to take this ugly anti nature bait hook & stinker from the west? Oh! My GOD where are you? Why are you so distant & allow this on your own people? My GOD I know you will act @ your own timing, Your timing is the best. Thank You, Lord Jesus.

  • benny agafa


  • Onyewuchi Nze

    We Africans should not emulate unprofitable foreign cultures. The president of Mozambique was given the chance to live by his own mother but now he has given mothers the power and right to deny the chance to live to their unborn children. What a shame!