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Zimbabwe to block scholarship for LGBTQ+ people

In a controversial announcement, Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, declared the government would block scholarships for LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly those sponsored by GALZ, a membership organization advocating for the rights of such groups in Zimbabwe.

The state university scholarship program, which caters to individuals aged 18 to 35, has been a crucial avenue for many aspiring students to pursue higher education in Zimbabwe. For LGBTQ+ individuals, however, that option is now unfairly off the table.

The Vice President’s recent announcement has ignited widespread criticism from human rights activists, LGBTQ+ advocates, and international organizations, who argue that such a move not only violates the principles of equal opportunity but also hinders the fundamental right to education.

GALZ, the organization sponsoring the scholarships, has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights in Zimbabwe, working towards fostering inclusivity and combating discrimination. The scholarships provided by GALZ have been instrumental in empowering LGBTQ+ people to access education and contribute positively to society.

Chiwenga’s statement cited national and Christian values as motivations behind the decision, raising concerns about discrimination and exclusion based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The move has sparked fear among LGBTQ+ students who rely on these scholarships, as they now face uncertainty over their futures and career prospects.

‘The government will not hesitate to take appropriate measures to enforce national laws, young people should never be tempted to trade or sell their souls for such abominable and devilish offers,’ Chiwenga said.

Zimbabwe has a history of overtly conservative views on LGBTQ+ issues, and this announcement reinforces the challenges faced by the community within the country. Human rights organizations, both within Zimbabwe and internationally, are expressing their dismay at the government’s decision, calling for an immediate reconsideration of the policy.

With no response to the announcement yet, GALZ has continued to emphasize the importance of equal access to education for all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The impact of blocking these scholarships, meanwhile, is expected to be profound. Many LGBTQ+ students who have relied on GALZ scholarships to pursue higher education may now find themselves unable to afford tuition fees.

This will inevitably lead to a decline in the representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in higher education in the nation and, consequently, limit opportunities for personal and professional growth for thousands.

As the controversy continues to unfold, it highlights the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights in Zimbabwe and across Africa in general.

International observers will be closely watching developments, with concerns about the broader implications for human rights and equality in the region.