Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell returns to haunt Mugabe
By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
Many will remember Peter Tatchell, the British gay activist who in 2001 ambushed the homophobic President Robert Mugabe in Brussels, Belgium London and attempted to arrest him for human rights abuses.
Mugabe’s close security agents punched and floored the dazed Thatchell as the president, who thought “gays are worse than dogs”, rushed off in a fleet of BMW limousines for a meeting with then Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt.
Two years before, in 1999, Tatchell and a couple other sympathisers had accosted Mugabe in London and attempted to apprehend him for a whole host of human rights abuses that included the heinous torture of journalists Ray Choto and Mark Chavhunduka who had revealed his secret wedding to Grace Mugabe.
Tatchell says when he forcibly opened Mugabe’s limousine in 1999 as the head of State was about to take off for a shopping spree at the Harrods, the president looked as frightened as a 10 year old.
The gay rights activist is not yet done with Mugabe.
On 12 August, Tatchell will be trying once again to arrest the 92 year-old president for who it never rains but continues pouring as war veterans and thousands of Zimbabweans back home want him out for overstaying in power.
Mugabe will not be anywhere near London, Brussels or any European capital, thanks to a travel ban imposed a decade and half ago.
The arrest for alleged crimes against the people of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean economy will nonetheless go ahead, but will only be symbolic.
The Zimbabwe Vigil and its sister organisation, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) have organised the symbolic arrest that will take place in Brighton.
In addition to Mugabe, the current governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya, will also know what it means to be thrown behind bars for colluding in running down an economy.
The Zimbabwe Vigil and its sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) will be staging mock citizens’ arrests of Robert and Grace Mugabe, plus John Mangudya (Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) on Friday 12 August in Brighton for crimes against both the people and economy of Zimbabwe.
“Mugabe will be symbolically apprehended by human rights activist, Peter Tatchell, who unsuccessfully attempted to arrest Mugabe in 1999 and 2001. The three will be marched 110 km to London for trial at the Zimbabwe Vigil at 3 pm on Saturday 13th August,” said Zimbabwe Vigil in a statement.
The Brighton-to-London walk, said the London-based human rights watchdog, is to mourn the death of democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe.
“The date of the walk was inspired by the Heroes’ Day celebrations in Zimbabwe. The idea of the arrests was added to underline Zimbabwe’s current problems of economic collapse and civil unrest,” added the watchdog.
Sponsors and donors are expected to raise funds for poor school children and provide legal protection to human rights activists in Zimbabwe. Nehanda Radio