Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has said he will not accept aid if it means his country has to accept gay rights.
The leader of the southern African country made the remarks as his nation suffers from one of its worst droughts in two decades – that has left as many as three million people in need.
On Saturday, the President attended a party for his 92nd birthday that cost nearly $1 million and was condemned by opponents and the international community.
In his speech, he said: “If aid, as I understand, is to be given on the basis that we accept the principle of gay marriages, then let that aid stay were it is.
“We don’t want it. It is rotten aid, filthy aid and we won’t have anything to do with it.”
It’s understood that Zimbabwe has applied for around $1.6 billion of support, with no aid organisation demanding such a condition be met.
Having ruled the country since its independence with Britain in 1980, the Zanu-PF leader has continually attacked LGBT people, likening the community to a “white disease”.
He also told the UN General Assembly that “we are not gay”, when making a speech there in September last year.
In Masvingo, the province where the party was held, over 75% of maize crops have been destroyed by dry conditions.
Critics have blamed Mr Mugabe’s policy of seizing white-owned commercial farms and redistrubting them, as one of the reasons the country fell into deep recession and witnessed output half.
“The money that is being budgeted for this ill-conceived birthday bash should actually be used to import maize to avert the impending starvation in Masvingo province and other parts of the country,” Obert Gutu, from the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, said.