Robert Mugabe and Hillary Clinton
Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson has lashed out at Hillary Clinton after she criticised the Zimbabwean president’s stance on LGBT rights.
Mugabe recently made global headlines when he told the UN that, “We are not gays”, and accused the West of trying to impose “new” human rights on Zimbabwe.
Clinton, who is running for US president, responded to the outburst at a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) event in Washington D.C. a few days later.
“I’m guessing the LGBT activists sitting in prison in Zimbabwe would disagree with [Mugabe] if ever given a chance to have a platform, like he had,” she said.
New Zimbabwe reports that Mugabe spokesperson George Charamba reacted by dismissing Clinton as “hallucinating” and being unworthy of the president’s attention.
“The president relates to sitting heads of state not aspiring candidates which Clinton is,” he told state media.
“The president was not just speaking as head of state for Zimbabwe. He was speaking as the African Union chair which puts him above what Clinton can ever hope to be,” Charamba said.
He also insisted that, “We have no lesbians or homosexuals in jail in this country,” adding that, “Wherever she is getting her information is a very strange place. The embassy here must help her.”
Charamba also criticised 12 UN agencies that recently issued a historic statement condemning anti-LGBT laws and discrimination among member states, which he seemed to be believe was directed at Zimbabawe.
“The president was addressing the world from a UN podium. He was not addressing UN civil servants or any one agency, not even the secretary general is his interlocutor.
“Even if we were to grant them that status, which they do not have, out of 30 agencies only 12 signed the petition against the president. It would appear strange that 12 is larger than 18,” said Charamba.
“Doesn’t that diminish their competence to pronounce themselves on the matter or are they gay agencies themselves?” he asked.
Michael Bartos from UNAIDS, one of the agencies that signed the document, explained that it was not specifically directed at the president’s remarks at the UN.
“It was coincidence… The statement was directed to all countries and the world focusing on the need to recognise same-sex people and against violation of their human rights,” he said.
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 entrenched in the country’s Constitution.