President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has launched a blistering attack

on homosexuality in a speech to mark his birthday.

Mr Mugabe, who has previously described gay people as worse than

“dogs and pigs” used an hour long speech to warn Zimbabweans of the

dangers of homosexuality and threatened pro-gay clergy with prison

sentences.

“Leave whites to do that,” he declared in reference to homosexuality

in the speech made in Shona, one of the native languages of Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe told the cheering crowd of supporters that gay marriages are a threat to civilisation and condemned churches that chose to bless same sex relationships. He added that police would arrest and jail clergy who performed ceremonies for gay couples in Zimbabwe.

The human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of the gay rights group

OutRage! attempted to perform a citizens arrest on Mr Mugabe in

Brussels in 2001. Mr Tatchell was beaten unconscious by bodyguards

employed by the Zimbabwean leader.

In 2004, Mr Tatchell requested at Bow Streets Magistrates Court for an arrest warrant for the Zimbabwean president over allegations of

brutality, homophobia, and repression of civil rights. Mr Tatchell

documented accounts of political opponents being rounded up and

imprisoned. However, the magistrate, Timothy Workman, ruled that Mr

Mugabe was entitled to immunity as a head of state.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2001 over allegations of fraud in the presidential elections.