#LoveWins: Homosexuality Decriminalized in Mozambique

Mozambique decriminalized homosexuality on Monday when a new penal code came into force. This is a victory for campaigners for gay rights in Mozambique and 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.

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.”

In February this year, Mozambique’s former president Joaquim Chissano, called for Africa to respect and stop introducing harsher penalties for homosexuality. Chissano, who served as the country’s second president from 1986 to 2005, was reacting  to Nigeria’s introduction of  tougher measures against the homosexual community in Nigeria.

Not only does the law ban gay marriage and gay rights organizations, but any person who even provides services to someone LGBT could be imprisoned.

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

Image from Lambda’s website.

Image from Lambda’s website.