Zim “prophet” hails Mugabe’s anti-gay stance


Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa

A well-known Zimbabwean religious leader has praised President Robert Mugabe for his anti-gay stance, saying that this has helped the country survive.

According to the state-run Herald newspaper, Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa told his United Family International Church congregants on Sunday that Mugabe should be commended for standing firm against the West, despite “illegal” economic sanctions.

“We are where we are now because our leaders have been able to safeguard our culture and values,” he said. “A President who upholds the values of a nation is important. We cannot sacrifice our values because of a loan.”

Makandiwa reportedly went on to claim that concerns about the rights of homosexuals is one of main reasons behind the sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“To those countries homosexuality is a right that they have claimed our President is abusing. But is it really about rights because an innocent person out there is being made to suffer (because of sanctions),” he said.

“You might have lost roads, you might have lost industries but you have promoted the fear of God and when people fear God don’t take that one away,” he added to applause.

He further stated that the country’s economy would soon recover and those who had left the country would return.

In March last year, Makandiwa told his followers that gay people are mentally ill “rejects” who are backed by the devil.

Makandiwa draws around 50,000 people to his church every week and is reported to own a large business empire that includes stakes in Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed companies.

Mugabe has openly slated gays and lesbians, describing them as “worse than pigs and dogs” and insisting that they “don’t have any human rights at all.”

Gay sex and public affection are illegal in Zimbabwe, with penalties of up to three years in jail. Same-sex marriage is also illegal, as specified in the country’s constitution.

Although Mugabe has blamed sanctions for Zimbabwe’ financial woes, these sanctions have been limited and focused on certain leaders, including the president, over human rights abuses and corruption. The European Union lifted its 12-year suspension of financial aid to Zimbabwe just under a year ago and no significant sanctions remain in place.

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