Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe, took a very bold position during his address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by deviating from his prepared speech to tell world leaders that the people of Africa ‘are not gay’.
The long-serving pan-African leader attacked the countries in the West on a campaign to impose gay rights in African countries where the practice is largely criminalised. Mugabe said this was against the United Nations charter as it does not stipulate the recognition of homosexuality.
“Nowhere does the United Nations’ charter abrogate the right to some [countries in the West] to sit in judgment over others! We reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs. We are not gays! Cooperation and respect for each other will advance the cause of human rights worldwide. Confrontation, vilification, and double-standards will not” Mugabe, who is also chair of the African Union, told the gathering of World leaders.
‘Africa is not looking for handouts’
Mugabe also urged a change to the approach adopted by Western countries in supporting Africa’s development through aid. The pan-Africanist said this approach only drives the accumulation of dependency syndrome. He suggested the West to work with Africa as partners in an effort to decolonise the continent from its underdevelopment bondage.
“Africa is not looking for handouts. Rather, it is looking for partners in massive infrastructural development in creating and exploiting the value chains of its God-given natural resources, and in improving the quality of life of the continent’s citizens.”
The Zimbabwe president emphasised that this will empower Africa to develop in its approach. He added that a developed Africa will be beneficial to the World.
“The entire world stands to benefit from an economically empowered African continent than from one emasculated by deprivation and with an over-dependence on others”
Support for Palestine: United Nations failing its duty
Unlike most African countries which side with Israel, the African Union chair also questioned the United Nations for adopting a lacklustre position on Israel which he said was terrorising Palestine. He sarcastically posed questions to the United States and President Obama with accusations for double standard as it continues to work with the far right government of Israel led by Benjamin Netanyahu.
“In the Middle East, the suffering of the Palestinian people continues unabated. What does Mr. Obama say about that? We reiterate our unwavering support to the just cause of the Palestinian people. Do we agree Mr. United States?” said Mugabe while calling for the United Nations to unanimously work towards implementing a two-way state solution between Israel and Palestine.
Mugabe then took a swipe at the United Nations’ failure to resolve the conflict which has resulted many innocent lives being lost in Palestine. He said failure by the UN to take action was evidence that the organisation is not only failing in its duty but is indication over the UN’s failure to evolve despite significant changes that have taken place since 1945, the year the organisation was formulated.
“We are concerned by the increase on tensions in that region, and urge the United Nations to assume its responsibility and bring an end to this senseless conflict…While the world has drastically changed since 1945, the United Nations, and indeed the global governance architecture, remains mired in a long bygone era. This archaic hierarchy among nations threatens to erode the confidence and support that the United Nations commands among the majority — but disadvantaged — of its membership”.
Europe’s migration crisis
Mugabe also blamed the West for the current European migration crisis, saying it has been caused by the interference of the West in other countries’ affairs.
“The growing list of phenomenon that neither respects nor knows any borders makes it imperative that we mobilise all mechanisms of co-operation to effectively overcome them…For some months now, we have watched heartbreaking and harrowing scenes of desperate refuges seeking to enter Europe in search of safety and shelter from the ravages of conflict in their own homelands.
“We have also read of the tragedy and loss of life in the Mediterranean. The majority of the affected people are from Syria or from other countries devastated by conflict and instability induced, in great part, by the destabilisation policies of external forces.
“This tragic situation could have been avoided through respect of the independence of other countries and non-interference in their internal affairs. In the case of Libya, we are witnessing the results of abusing the authority of the United Nations Security Council and ignoring the opinion of regional organisations, in this instance, the African Union (AU), which are supposed to be the United Nations’ partners in the maintenance of international peace and security”.
‘I will not tolerate interference from the West in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs’
President Robert Mugabe who is undeniably elevated highly by many people in Malawi, then concluded his speech by urging an end to sanctions imposed on his country mostly by the United States.
“My country, Zimbabwe, is committed to a fair, just and effective United Nations, in which multilateralism, inclusivity and transparency replace unilateralism, exclusion and backroom deals.
“The Charter of the United Nations is built on the bedrock of the sovereign equality and independence of its members, without distinction as to their geographical size, economic might, or any other endowments or qualifications”.
He then stressed that as a sovereign state, Zimbabwe will not tolerate the interference of other countries in domestic affairs under his watch.
“We are deeply attached to these UN principles and call on other members of the United Nations to be similarly disposed. The United Nations was set up, among other purposes, to ‘develop friendly relations amongst millions’. Zimbabwe desires, and is committed to nurturing friendly relations with other nations but we cannot tolerate interference in its domestic affairs” said Mugabe to wide appraisal
“We invite other countries with which we may have differences including the United States and the NATO powers. We invite them if they have differences of whatever nature with us to eschew threats, pressures and punitive actions; in favour of reconciliation, friendship and dialogue.
“I therefore denounce, in the strongest terms, the illegal sanctions that are imposed on my country by the European Union and the USA and call for their immediate and unconditional removal. We don’t know what wrong we have done to the United States and can it leave us free and independent to do our own things”
“Once more, I put it on record that my country is desirous to live in harmony with all countries, big and small. We have peace in Zimbabwe just now. We don’t want war, we don’t want interference, We don’t want to hear of regime change at all” concluded the 91 year old leader, hinting that he is not yet ready to call it quit.