The President of Zimbabwe has described UK plans to divert aid away from governments who fail to recognise citizens’ human rights “satanic”, Zimbabwean state media reports.

Mugabe told a crowd in the central African state yesterday: “It becomes worse and satanic when you get a prime minister like Cameron saying countries that want British aid should accept homosexuality.

“To come with that diabolic suggestion to our people is a stupid offer.”

This week, the government confirmed plans to redirect aid away from overseas governments who fail to recognise human rights, including gay rights, but said it will still ensure aid reaches those in need.

Earlier this month, a Ugandan presidential official, John Nagenda, told the BBC his country was “tired of these lectures” and that the Commonwealth nations should not be treated like “children.

In October, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai performed an apparent volte-face on previous homophobic views, saying he believes gay rights are “human rights”.

However, Mugabe said in his speech yesterday: “Do not get tempted into that (homosexuality). You are young people. If you go that direction, we will punish you severely.

“It is condemned by nature. It is condemned by insects and that is why I have said they are worse than pigs and dogs.”

Zimbabwe is currently deliberating over a new constitution.

In reaction to Commonwealth nations’ criticism earlier this month, a UK government spokesman said: “The UK Government is at the forefront of work to promote human rights around the world, and regularly criticises Governments which violate those rights.

“This includes working to end religious intolerance, and persecution and discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexuality.

“Our new approach, set out in detail in July this year, means we only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty; respect human rights; improve public financial management; fight corruption; and promote good governance and transparency.”