Robert Mugabe has used the occasion of his birthday party to lash out at non-existent threats to “force” same-sex marriage onto the country.
The cantankerous Zimbabwean president celebrated his 92nd birthday on Saturday in a lavish televised bash that is said to have cost close to $1 million.
This, despite the country requesting $1.6 billion in international to help feed its citizens who are in the midst of a drought.
In a speech at the party, Mugabe urged the youth to “continue protecting our moral dignity of African people” in the face of the threat of globalisation.
“Never ever accept that a society can condone marriages of man to man, a woman to woman. The so-called gays; no, they have no place in our society,” he insisted,
Mugabe ranted that if international aid is offered on the basis “that we must accept the principle of gay marriages – then let that aid stay where it is.
“… we don’t want it; its rotten aid filthy aid and we don’t want anything to do with it,” he said.
The outburst is bizarre; no nation or aid agency has made marriage equality a condition on which they will provide aid to Zimbabwe, or any other country for that matter.
The comments help perpetuate the idea, popular among the continent’s leaders, that LGBT equality is a foreign concept imposed on Africa by the imperialist West, rather than simply an aspect of universal human rights.
Mugabe has previously stated that gay people are “worse than pigs and dogs” and that they “don’t have any human rights at all.”
In September last year, he lashed out at LGBT people at the UN General Assembly, stating that LGBT rights are “contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs,” defiantly telling world leaders, “We are not gays!”
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.