Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has wadded into the dispute between Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the West after the East African leader signed anti- homosexuality laws.
Addressing guests at his daughter Bona’s wedding at the weekend, Mugabe said threats by the United States to cut aid to Uganda following the signing of the anti-gay bill on the basis that it violated human rights showed that the U.S. had no honor. “The human right you have as a man is to marry another woman, not to get another man to marry,” Monday’s Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe saying. The bill which originally carried a death penalty was first introduced in 2009 but was shelved when the West threatened to withdraw aid to Uganda.
However, Uganda’s parliament passed it in December, only replacing the death penalty with a proposal of life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality”, which includes acts in which one person is infected with HIV, “serial offenders” and sex with minors. Museveni has told the West that they can keep their aid and should not impose moral values on his country.The World Bank has since shelved a 90 million U.S. dollars loan to Uganda as it considers whether the new law will not adversely affect the development objectives of the loan. Many African leaders are opposed to homosexuality and in Zimbabwe, gay rights became a hot issue during the crafting of a new constitution which came into effect in 2013. Mugabe’s party Zanu-PF led the crusade against homosexuality and ensured that a clause outlawing same sex marriages was included in the new law.