Robert Mugabe wins ‘peace’ prize… promptly rejects it
Anti-gay Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe has won a Chinese ‘peace’ Prize – but promptly turned it down.
The leader, who has been President of Zimbabwe since 1987, is a notorious opponent of LGBT rights – recently giving a bizarre speech to the United Nations in which he ranted about gay rights before shouting “we are not gays!”
Homosexuality is not against the law in the country, but LGBT people often face harsh government clampdowns – with Mugabe claiming homosexuality is a filthy disease, and claiming Zimbabwe would “never, never, never” support homosexuality.
The leader was surprisingly announced this week as the winner of the China-backed Confucius Peace Prize, which was set up as an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize but is not officially associated with the Chinese government.
According to the group that runs the awards, the leader was honoured for “working tirelessly to build the political and economic stability of his country, bringing peace to the people of Zimbabwe, strongly supporting pan-Africanism and African independence, and making unparalleled contributions for the renaissance of African civilisation”.
His poor human rights record, poor record on tackling corruption and overtly anti-LGBT stances were not referenced.
However, Mugabe did not turn up to collect the award, and Zimbabwe press reports he does not recognise the honour.
Newsday reports a source saying: “Not even his system takes note of the so-called award.
“Just what is the story? Even some little institution, so far away from us, seeking to raise its own profile by forcing an association with Robert Mugabe, creates a threatening factor for opposition.”
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba added: “The Chinese government informed the Zimbabwean government it was not associated with the conferring organisation.
“The matter ended there as far as government and the President were concerned.”