LITTLE MORE THAN one year ago, Julius Malema delivered a bellicose address aimed at expressing his party’s unconditional support for Putin and the United Russia Party (URP) which opposes Gay Marriage. The Russian president had just delivered a Valentine’s Day address stating same-sex marriage “will not happen” as long as he was in the Kremlin.
The result is a series of URP-sponsored Russian laws which ban “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” amongst all age groups — anyone caught committing these “offences” may be held liable for 400,000 roubles (ZAR 90 083), with much higher fines for organisations or journalists. There has been a veritable crackdown on LGBT rights in the country this year.
Juxtapose this situation with Malema’s latest pink-inspired speech before a large crowd picketing outside the Ugandan Embassy in Pretoria to protest Yoweri Museveni’s Anti-homosexuality Bill.
The leader of South Africa’s third largest political party, can be seen draped in the Rainbow Flag, synonymous with Gay Pride, professing open support for LGBT rights: “This bill is anti-human because gay rights are human rights,” enthused Malema.
“How are you going to identify that a person is gay, what scientific methods are you going to use to determine a person is lesbian? The only thing you can do is to look at a person and out of hatred decide this one is gay or lesbian and you want to kill them. That cannot be correct” he said.
Is this the self-same man, the red finagler who recently stated he would provide escort protection for Putin if the Russian President arrived in the country for a BRICS summit later this year? There is currently not a single person of colour in Putin’s cabinet, ditto LGBT.
Despite the fanfare, lofty words and woke posturing, Malema’s track record when it comes to LGBT-rights has proven quite the opposite of the puff pieces put out by his militant powdered ‘battalions’. The EFF is in a coalition with the openly homophobic Al Jama-ah Party, whose political platform opposes events such as Gay Pride, the annual Jozi Pink Pages event.
A press release put out by the party put the position on LGBT bluntly: “Their lifestyle is condemned and unacceptable.”
In the Russian Federation, (one hesitates to add Johannesburg), LGBT people face legal and social challenges not experienced by others, the country provides no anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and does not have a designation for hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
But as Malema explained, he intends to ‘kiss a few frogs in order to gain power”, just not that kind of frog?
Leftist political expediency, cast in broad brush strokes, could turn into an awkward ‘trill and whistle’ during the coming BRICS Summit? If the EFF want to be seen as credible voices for LGBT rights, not merely the authors of kissing points — amphibious croakers tickling electoral boxes — then they should explain to the public their abject silence and total acquiescence when it comes to Russian rights?
Surely what is good for the Goose is good for Uganda, and is good for the rest of the globe?
The EFF pink virtue signalling certainly falls flat when it comes to the party’s other policy hallmarks — unconditional support for Hamas whose authoritarian regime has implemented penalties for homosexuality, including 10-year imprisonment terms. Male same-sex activity is still illegal and punishable by imprisonment in Kuwait, Egypt, Oman and Syria. It is also punishable by death in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
In Yemen and the Gaza Strip, the punishment might differ between death and imprisonment depending on the act committed.