Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe recently said that his country doesn’t “do” gay rights and implied that homosexuality apparently violates women’s rights because the “gay world” denies women, that he said are inferior to men, the chance to use their “talent to bear children.”
“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.
Mugabe made these comments at a HIV/AIDS women’s rights conference in Harare ahead of a Sunday visit to Zimbabwe by United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay.
Mugabe, 88, has before described gay people as pigs and has repeatedly said that homosexuality is a foreign import that is not germane to Zimbabwe. He recently clarified those remarks, reportedly saying gays were worse than dogs and pigs because at least animals could “identify their female mating partners.”
Mugabe, referring to the role of women in Zimbabwean society, said he thought it unlikely that gender equality will be on the cards any time soon given that women are customarily thought of as inferior:
“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.
After arriving in the country Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay visited the Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s offices for an hour-long closed door meeting in which the minister reportedly made it clear that the country will continue to strictly prosecute homosexuality.
Pillay has in previous statements made it abundantly clear that the UN will not tolerate active persecution of homosexuals and has called on memberstates to decriminalize LGBT identity. She has also voiced her increasing concern over women’s rights issues in Zimbabwe.