Robert Mugabe clings to power after being ousted as party leader
Robert Mugabe is clinging onto power in Zimbabwe, despite being ousted as leader of his own ruling party.
The leader has previously expressed tacit support for gay people being put to death, and his homophobic actions have been blamed for a worsening HIV crisis in the country.
He has made outrageous anti-gay statements for years, and a decision to appoint him as a Goodwill Ambassador by the World Health Organisation was recently rescinded.
The ruling ZANU-PF party has dismissed Mugabe as its leader, and former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been appointed as its new leader.
Mugabe has been given until Monday to resign as his wife Grace Mugabe has also been dismissed from the party.
Impeachment proceedings could begin against the expelled and adamantly homophobic tyrant on Tuesday.
The leader of the country’s war veterans, Chris Mutsvangwa, has said he will set a mob on Mugabe if he fails to step aside.
He said that: “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business.”
“We must understand the endgame and the endgame is the president must go,” Temba Mliswa, the former chairman of Zanu-PF in Mashonaland West said this weekend.
“Eight of 10 provinces have recommended he be expelled and tomorrow’s central committee meeting is key to expel him, Grace and the rest of the cabal.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell hailed the decision to remove Mugabe from power.
Tatchell had attempted three arrests on Mugabe, in London, Paris and Brussels.
“The police arrested me and Mugabe was given an escort to go shopping in Harrods,” Mr Tatchell said.
“Just imagine how the course of history could have changed if he was arrested, tried and convicted in 1999.”
At the time, Mugabe commented on Tatchell’s attempt, blaming “gangster gays”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) last month reversed a decision to name Mugabe a ‘Goodwill Ambassador’.
Mugabe has been the President of Zimbabwe since 1987, and has presided over a regime that has been accused of corruption and human rights abuses.
He is also an adamant homophobe and has for a long time stirred up anti-gay sentiment in the country and defending its anti-LGBT laws.
The WHO had earlier named Mugabe as a Goodwill Ambassador following a proposal from director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Dr Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe for its commitments to public health.
But after saying it was “rethinking” the decision, today the WHO reversed the decision.
The director general after just one day said that the WHO had “listened carefully” to criticisms.
Critics had called the decision an “insult” and “laughable”.
Today the director general said the WHO had “concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organisation”.
Dr Ghebreyesus had claimed that under Mugabe’s rule, Zimbabwe has become “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all”.
In a joint statement, dozens of health bodies voiced “shock and deep concern” about the appointment, citing “President Mugabe’s long track record of human rights violations and undermining the dignity of human beings”.
Mugabe recently gave a bizarre speech to the United Nations in which he ranted about gay rights before shouting “we are not gays!”
Referring to pressures to decriminalise homosexuality, he told the UN: “We reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our values, our norms, traditions and beliefs.”
Mugabe has previously claimed homosexuality is a filthy disease, and insisted Zimbabwe would “never, never, never” support homosexuality.
When the country suffered one of its worst droughts in decades last year, Mugabe held a lavish birthday party at which he vowed to reject international aid that requires Zimbabwe to accept human rights laws and stop persecuting gay people.
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.”
During his 2013 inauguration address, Mugabe urged young Zimbabweans to “damn” homosexuality, calling it a “white disease”..
He added: “That [homosexuality] destroys nations, apart from it being a filthy, filthy disease.”
Ahead of the election, he said that gays should be castrated.
Throughout his election campaign vocal attacks on the country’s gay population were a prominent feature. In one attack he urged for the heads of gay men to be chopped off, and described them as being worse than pigs.
He said: “If you take men and lock them in a house for five years and tell them to come up with two children and they fail to do that, then we will chop off their heads.
“This thing [homosexuality] seeks to destroy our lineage by saying John and John should wed, Maria and Maria should wed. Imagine this son born out of an African father, [US President Barack] Obama says if you want aid, you should accept the homosexuality practice. Aah, we will never do that.”
He also described homosexuals as worse than animals because pigs “know who to mate with.”
Mugabe recently expressed his admiration for President Trump.
The oppressive Zimbabwe president made the comments ahead of the country’s elections.
Mugabe says people should “give him time” in the hope Trump will lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, and backed his nationalistic agenda.
“Give him time,” he said in an interview aired ahead of his 93rd birthday.
“Mr Trump might even re-look [at] the sanctions on Zimbabwe.”
Mugabe and his allies have had their assets frozen and faced travel bans by the US for 15 years.
He said: “When it comes to Donald Trump… talking of American nationalism, well America for America, America for Americans – on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.
“I was surprised by his election, but I did not like Madam Clinton to win either,” he said.
“I knew she could slap sanctions on us as a legacy.”
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Mugabe said of him: “I’ve just concluded since President Obama endorses the same-sex marriage, advocates homosexual people and enjoys an attractive countenance, thus if it becomes necessary, I shall travel to Washington, get down on my knee, and ask [Obama’s] hand in marriage.
“I can’t understand how this people dare to defy Christ’s explicit orders as our Lord prohibited mankind from sodomy.”
Grace Mugabe told crowds that if her husband should die before their next set of ‘elections’, then supporters should write his name in.
“If God decides to take him, then we would rather field him as a corpse.”