Zimbabwe’s President Backs Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday March 3, 2014

Media in Zimbabwe is reporting Monday that the country's president has shared his thoughts about Uganda's controversial anti-gay bill over the weekend, saying he backs the measure.

According to iAfrica.com, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe criticized the West for cutting aid to Uganda after the country's President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law that bans homosexuality, and cracks down on the east African country's LGBT community.

"They [the West] want to tell us... that it's a violation of human rights, that is what they are doing to Museveni right now," Mugabe said during a weekend wedding reception for his daughter. "The human right you have as a man is to marry another woman not to get another man to marry, we refuse that."

"It's a terrible world we are in, a terrible world where people want to do things that they feel will enhance their own interests," he added.

His support for the anti-gay measure may not come to a surprise to some as this isn't the first time Mugabe has spewed anti-gay rhetoric. In July he promised he would criminalize homosexuality and said gay men and women are "worse than pigs, goats and birds" before threatening to behead them.

Despite his threats from last summer, Mugabe said this weekend he only recently learned that LGBT people exist in Zimbabwe.

"I understand we have a group of homosexuals in this country. I didn't know until I was told the day before yesterday. So we want to check on who is in that group," Mugabe said.

As iAfrica.com notes, the Zimbabwe-based LGBT group, Gays and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe, has operated in the country despite Mugabe's vehemently anti-gay views.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the controversial anti-gay bill that carries harsh penalties for homosexual sex late last month, ignoring threats from Western governments that they would cut aid to Uganda if he does so. Museveni said the measure is necessary because "arrogant and careless Western groups" tried "recruit" Ugandan children into homosexuality.

A number of countries have kept good on their word and at least three European countries are withdrawing millions in direct support to Uganda's government, which depends on donors for about 20 percent of its budget, the Associated Press reported. Additionally, the World Bank is delaying a $90 million loan to Uganda's Health Ministry, which would help a project to improve the country's health systems.