1 October 2015
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has once again come out in the open to tell the West that his country will not accept homosexuality, telling the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday: "We are not gays."
Addressing what he called the "new" human rights agenda being pushed by the West and referring specifically to the issue of homosexuality, Mugabe, who is also the current African Union (AU) chair, said: "We reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs. We are not gays".
Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and Mugabe, 91, has in previous years made headlines after he told gay people to go to "hell". He also stated that those of homosexual orientation were lower than "pigs, goats and birds".
Last year, the nonagenarian made headlines after he said gay rights were not human rights, adding Zimbabwe would never let children grow up thinking that there was an alternative to the God-prescribed marriage system.
Mugabe told the summit that the upholding of human rights was an obligation of all states, but castigated the West for giving themselves more power over other countries.
"... We reject the politicisation of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimise those who dare think and act independently of the self-appointed prefects of our time," Mugabe said.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Mugabe also tackled the issue of Africa's development and economy, saying the continent was not looking for handouts from donors.
"Africa is not looking for handouts. Rather it is looking for partners in massive infrastructural development in creating and exploiting the chains of its God-given natural resources and in improving the quality of life of the continent’s citizens," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
The veteran leader indicated that the West’s interference into the domestic affairs of independent nations had triggered the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, according to reports.
Mugabe said that the "harrowing scenes of desperate refugees" seeking shelter from instability and war had been caused by "destabilising policies of external forces".
"This tragic situation could have been avoided through the respect of independence of other countries and non-interference in their internal affairs," Mugabe said.