The Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, 88, during a speech he gave at his recent lavish birthday party, reacted to the British Prime Minister David Cameron's call in support of gay rights, saying, "to hell with you."
Mugabe said gays are "worse than pigs and dogs because pigs know there are males and females. I won’t even call him (gay) a dog because my own dog will complain."
Mugabe, according to Daily Mail, made it clear in the speech broadcast by the country's state-owned television network that his country Zimbabwe, would never tolerate homosexuality or give support to gay rights. He said emphatically: "We reject that outright and say to hell with you. You, David Cameron, are you suggesting that you don’t know that, or is it some kind of insanity or part of the culture of Europeans?"
Mugabe in the televised speech addressed to a crowd of around 20,000 supporters during the birthday rally in the eastern city of Mutare, said: "In their newspapers, that’s one of my sins. That I called (gays) worse than pigs and dogs because pigs know there are males and females. I won’t even call him a dog because my own dog will complain. It’s even in the Bible that you create through the system of marrying. That’s how we were born, so we reject that outright and say to hell with you.You are free as a man to marry a woman and that is what we follow. That’s what produced you and me. This kind of insanity is now part of the culture of Europe and the United States."
According to New Zimbabwe, Mugabe said Zimbabwe was under threat of imperialism. Mugabe accused the West of sabotaging Zimbabwe's once vibrant economy. He said the West became hostile to Zimbabwe because his government seized land from white farmers and redistributed to landless blacks. New Zimbabwe quoted Mugabe, saying; "Bear in mind that the monster of imperialism is continuously and dangerously lurking in the bush awaiting a more favourable opportunity to devour our national sovereignty. We must never ever lose our sovereignty, our power to rule ourselves, our right as Zimbabweans to govern Zimbabwe, to determine our own destiny."
Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to be "in a state of readiness to fight the enemies who might dare attack you, invade you or claim through the use of arms that a portion of Zimbabwe belongs to him. Unless you are committed to that, you are not a Zimbabwean in full."
In the one-hour diatribe in which he reviewed the history of colonialism and accused "whites" of treating Zimbabweans as slaves, he said that the HIV/AIDS pandemic was the result of falling moral standards, another influence of Western civilization. He rejected homosexuality and urged his people in the Shona language: "Leave whites to do that." But he promised to jail any clergy in Zimbabwe who dared bless gay marriage.
In spite of Mugabe's high rhetoric about imperialism and sabotage, local churches, labour and human rights groups have repeatedly accused Mugabe of rigging elections and stifling dissent.
Mugabe's Zimbabwe is one of several African countries that have reacted angrily to Cameron's statement in 2011 that any developing economy that failed to implement gay friendly policies would have aid withdrawn. The Ugandan president complained of London's bullying tactics while the Nigerian Senate President dared Western countries to stop providing aid after legislators passed an anti-same sex marriage bill.
New Zimbabwe reports that local media have complained that with millions of Zimbabweans living in poverty after years of economic mismanagement, it was wrong for the president to celebrate his birthday with such ostentatious display. Daily Mail reports that a massive birthday cake baked in Harare was driven 160 miles to Mutare for the event, under police escort. New Zimbabwe reports thousands, including school children, packed the local stadium to celebrate Mugabe's birthday. He was showered with expensive gifts by government and party officials.
Global Post reports that Mugabe's birthday party reportedly cost $1 million.
Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, as it is in several African countries including Nigeria. Public display of homosexual affection could lead to a jail sentence. Mugabe, a Catholic, has clashed with opposition MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai who supports gay rights.
Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1979. He was one of the leaders of the country's liberation struggle in the 1960s and 1970s. Al Jazeera reports Mugabe used the occasion of his birthday party to call for elections in 2012, a year ahead of schedule.