Clinton too junior to criticise Mugabe, says aide


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ZIMBABWE – Harare – US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is too junior to criticise President Robert Mugabe, who “relates to sitting heads of states and not aspiring candidates”, his spokesperson George Charamba has reportedly said.

Charamba said this after Clinton slammed Mugabe’s recent remarks on homosexuality.

Mugabe, 91, made headlines last week when he again openly said to the West his country will not accept homosexuality. Mugabe told the UN General Assembly: “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 the current African Union chair, said: “We reject attempts to prescribe new rights contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs. We are not gays.”

Clinton, who at the weekend outlined her vision for advancing gay rights, expressed concern over Mugabe’s remarks.

“I’m guessing the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] activists in prison in Zimbabwe would disagree with [Mugabe] if ever given a chance to have a platform,” Clinton was quoted as saying.

But Charamba, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper, rubbished Clinton’s sentiments, saying she was not well informed.

“In the first place, we have no lesbians or homosexuals in jail in this country. Wherever she is getting her information is a very strange place. The embassy here must help her,” Charamba was quoted as saying.

Charamba said the fact that Mugabe was speaking in his capacity as the African Union chair made him superior than Clinton.

“The president relates to sitting heads of state, not aspiring candidates which Clinton is. The president was not just speaking as head of state for Zimbabwe. He was speaking as the African Union chair which puts him above what Clinton can ever hope to be. [One] can only surmise that she is feeling the heat from contestation both from within her party and from the Republicans which is why [she is] arikurotomoka [hallucinating].”

Charamba also took a swipe at the United Nations agencies which also condemned Mugabe’s remarks about gay people.

A report on Monday said that Mugabe’s tough stance against homosexuality had angered donors, who had since signed a statement condemning member states still discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation.

Charamba said the Zimbabwe government was “disturbed” that the agencies had turned themselves into lobby groups and not “mere employees of the world body”.

Charamba said the agencies had no right to criticise a sitting head of state and government like Mugabe.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and Mugabe has in previous years made headlines after he told gay people to go to “hell”. He also stated those of homosexual orientation were lower than “pigs, goats and birds”.

Last year Mugabe made headlines after he said gay rights were not human rights, adding that Zimbabwe would never let children grow up thinking there was an alternative to the God-prescribed marriage system.

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