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'Gay world' against nature: Mugabe

Standing up for women ... UN human rights chief Navi Pillay and Thokozani Khupe

24/05/2012 00:00:00
by AP
Paying attention ... Thokozani Khupe listens to President Robert Mugabe
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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said Thursday that homosexuality doesn't belong in Zimbabwe and it violates women's rights by denying the union of men and women needed to bear children.

Mugabe, who was speaking in Harare at the launch of the Global Power Network African Chapter which is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, said the "gay world" goes against nature.

The conference was attended by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala well as deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara.

After earlier remarks by Pillay referring to the criminalisation of homosexuality in some countries, Mugabe said Zimbabwe and Africa won't recognise same-sex marriage because it leads to human "extinction."

He said male homosexuality took away women's traditional rights of being mothers.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, who has repeatedly described same-sex partners as "lower than dogs and pigs," has vowed not to allow gay rights to be included in a new constitution being drafted.

"Mothers were given the talent to bear children. That talent doesn't belong to men," he said.

"When God created Adam ... if Adam had desired a person like him it would not have made him any happier," Mugabe said.

"When a man says he wants to get married to another man, we in Zimbabwe don't accept it. We can't talk of women's rights at all if we go in that direction. It will lead to extinction," he said.

On demands for women's equality, Mugabe said he doubted women will get equal representation as lawmakers in Zimbabwe.

"Our customs look down on women as inferior. Men pay cattle and money to get a wife and expect women to obey them. Women will surely lose. Men say that women are not as knowledgeable as us. The attitude of men still despises women," he said.

Pillay told Thursday's GlobalPower Women Network Africa meeting on women's rights that decisive leadership was needed to craft fair laws and policies on property rights for widows, early marriages, sexual violence, marital rape, homosexuality and commercial sex work.

She arrived Sunday to assess human rights in Zimbabwe. It is the first visit of a UN human rights chief to the troubled southern African nation.

Thursday's women's rights meeting coincided with the release of Amnesty International's annual global rights report.

The report cited one of its concerns over the past year as "worsening discrimination in Africa over people's sexual orientation or gender identity."


It said in October that two allegedly gay men were arrested in Harare after being assaulted by Zimbabwean mobs.

Mugabe's Zanu PF party militants then repeatedly threatened violence against the men's lawyers when a court cleared them of engaging in homosexuality.

Amnesty also said Thursday that police in Zimbabwe have continued to harass, intimidate and assault perceived opponents of the Zanu PF leader.

It said in the past year "security elements" had arrested senior politicians aligned to the former opposition in the nation's three-year coalition government and disrupted their political activities.

Human rights defenders were also arrested, detained and tortured, Amnesty claimed.

Mugabe's party has denied the existence of state-sponsored political violence in meetings with Pillay.

She ends her week-long visit Friday.

Conferring ... Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with Arthur Mutambara

Thanks for coming ... President Robert Mugabe recieves a present from Thokozani Khupe

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