Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has rejected calls by Mr Tsvangirai to enshrine gay rights in a new constitution. Mr Chinamasa told the BBC that gay rights could not be "smuggled" into the constitution because most Zimbabweans opposed it.
Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Chinamasa are from rival parties in a fractious coalition. Their parties - the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF respectively - are drafting a new constitution, which will be put to a referendum ahead of elections next year.
Mr Chinamasa said Zimbabweans had firmly rejected gay rights when they were consulted on a new constitution during the government's outreach programme. "We all know what people said about gay rights - it's a total no; an almost 100% no," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.
Even members of Tsvangirai's MDC Party have disavowed the comments, reports New Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai's MDC-T party refused to back him, and his spokesman appeared to beat a retreat, suggesting that the Prime Minister's position expressed in an interview with the BBC had been "misrepresented." But in the fall-out, Tsvangirai received backing from the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) which said in a statement it wanted him to "take positive action to support his most recent statement on the indivisibility of human rights."
Tsvangirai's reversal comes only days before the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia. British, Canadian and Australian leaders are expected to ask African and Asian nations to decriminalize same-sex relations in an effort to fight rampant HIV rates across the global south.
Zimbabwe's despotic government is rabidly anti-gay. Same-sex acts are currently illegal in Zimbabwe, as they are in most African countries. Two LGBT activists were arrested and tortured last year. Both were acquitted of all charges. Neighboring South Africa is the only nation on the continent that guarantees gay rights and marriage equality.
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