Abuse claims heap pressure on Banana

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The Independent Online
Harare, Zimbabwe (AP) - Students, football players and soldiers have told police of sexual harassment by former President Canaan Banana, already under investigation for alleged homosexual rape, a newspaper reported yesterday..

The independent business weekly The Financial Gazette said dozens of male complainants reported to a panel of police investigators, who declared eight new cases of harassment by Banana were believed genuine so far. The newspaper quoted an unidentified senior police official as saying allegations of Banana's predatory homosexuality ``continue to pour in''.

Officials at police headquarters did not return reporters' calls yesterday. Banana, 61, a Methodist theologian, academic and diplomat, is under police investigation for the alleged rape of a police aide when he was the nation's titular president after independence in 1980.

Police Inspector Jefta Dube, 36, was jailed for 10 years in February for fatally shooting a colleague who taunted him about a three-year homosexual relationship he said was forced on him by Banana.

The High Court in Harare accepted evidence that Dube was sexually harassed by Banana.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe. Police said they would bring criminal charges against Banana if investigators gathered enough evidence.

Dube's lawyers have filed a civil suit against Banana seeking 1.3 million Zimbabwe dollars (pounds 70,000) in damages for stress-related illness caused by homosexual harassment. Banana is a professor of theology at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

Police want to interview university authorities who allegedly ignored complaints from male students, the Financial Gazette reports. It said football players from Banana's now-disbanded State House Tornadoes team had come forward with testimony that was being scrutinised.