Mugabe to Cameron on calls to respect gay rights: ‘To hell with you’


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has responded to British Prime Minister David Cameron calls for him to respect gay rights by saying "to hell with you."

Mugabe also used the occasion of his 88th birthday celebrations, attended by an estimated 20,000 well-wishers at a stadium in the eastern border town of Mutare, to call for elections to be held in 2012, a year ahead of schedule, Al Jazeera reported.

Mugabe said he would call elections this year to end a shaky coalition government with the former opposition of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, according to Agence France-Presse, he told his audience at a bash that reportedly cost $1 million: "Nature is nature. It has created male and female."

Addressing the UK leader, who said last year that countries receiving British aid should respect human rights, including gay rights, he said: "You David Cameron, are you suggesting that you don't know that or is it some kind of insanity or part of the culture of Europeans.

"In their newspapers, that's one of my sins. That I called [gays] worse than pigs and dogs because pigs know there are males and females. It's even in the Bible that you create through the system of marrying.

(More from GlobalPost: Gay rights at center of Zimbabwe's constitutional debate

"That's how we were born, so we reject that outright and say to hell with you. I won't even call him a dog because my own dog will complain and say, but what have I done."

According to the New Zimbabwe, Mugabe said that unacceptable Western values included same-sex marriages.

At his birthday week finale, a "lavish gathering" in Mutare attended by an estimated 20,000 people and broadcast nationally, Mugabe urged Zimbabwe’s youth to "shun Western values, homosexuality and greed."

Mugabe said it was up to the young to "carry the torch in the future."

"Please, young men and women, you don't have the freedom for men to marry men and women to marry women. You have the freedom for men to marry women. That's God's freedom. That's what created you and me."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, meantime, repeated his calls for African countries to respect gay rights, AFP wrote.

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