Mu­gabe warns youths against greed, ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity

The Washington Times Daily - - World - BY AN­GUS SHAW

HARARE, ZIM­BABWE | Zim­bab­wean Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe wound up a week of cel­e­bra­tions mark­ing his 88th birth­day over the week­end with a lav­ish gath­er­ing, where he urged the na­tion’s youths to shun Western val­ues, ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and greed.

Mr. Mu­gabe, host­ing a cel­e­bra­tion in the east­ern city of Mutare, said some African lead­ers have be­come “weak and naive” and thought only of ma­te­rial gains when “kneel­ing” to Western­ers.

Or­ga­niz­ers from his Zim­babwe African Na­tional Union-pa­tri­otic Front party said 20,000 peo­ple gath­ered at a Mutare sports sta­dium Satur­day for his an­nual bash tar­geted at the coun­try’s youths.

A cake baked in Harare was taken to Mutare un­der po­lice es­cort, and live­stock were slaugh­tered for the event.

Re­gional Mu­gabe party of­fi­cial Charles Sa­muriwo didn’t com­ment on es­ti­mates that the tab for the oc­ca­sion had reached nearly $1 mil­lion. He told re­porters that busi­nesses made “suf­fi­cient” do­na­tions and “no one will go back home on an empty stom­ach.”

In a na­tion­wide broad­cast of the event, Mr. Mu­gabe said it was up to the young to “carry the torch in the fu­ture” and main­tain a high stan­dard of moral and sex­ual be­hav­ior. He said that un­ac­cept­able Western val­ues in­cluded same-sex mar­riages.

“We re­ject that out­right, and say to hell with you,” he said in a na­tion­wide broad­cast of the event.

“You are free as a man to marry a woman, and that is what we fol­low. That’s what pro­duced you and me,” he said. “This kind of in­san­ity is now part of the cul­ture” of Europe and the United States, he added.

Mr. Mu­gabe told Zim­babwe’s young that the fight against Western in­flu­ence still had to be fought.

“You must go to the head of the im­pe­ri­al­ist and knock out his brain,” he said, cau­tion­ing them also against “any love for money than is greater than your po­lit­i­cal con­science.”

In nearly four hours of birth­day broad­casts last week, Mr. Mu­gabe said he would call elec­tions this year to end a shaky coali­tion gov­ern­ment with the for­mer op­po­si­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai.

Mr. Ts­van­gi­rai, who was not in Mutare, in­sisted Fri­day that elec­tions can be held next year only af­ter con­sti­tu­tional and elec­tion re­forms have been com­pleted.

Mr. Mu­gabe said Satur­day that those op­pos­ing early elec­tions “know they will lose if we go to elec­tions this year.”

Mr. Ts­van­gi­rai de­scribed the three­year coali­tion with Mr. Mu­gabe, formed af­ter dis­puted and vi­o­lent elec­tions in 2008, as a “painful and sor­row­ful ex­pe­ri­ence” and said he will “re­sist” elec­tions be­ing held in 2012.

He said Mr. Mu­gabe wasn’t to be trusted in power-shar­ing as “we have a pres­i­dent who in­di­cates left and turns right.”

Mr. Mu­gabe, whose birth­day was Feb. 21, said he had been show­ered with gifts, bless­ings and pray­ers from home and abroad, and that sup­port from his coun­try­men “warms my heart and in­vig­o­rates me.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Zim­bab­wean Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe blows out the can­dles on his birth­day cake as he turns 88. The cake was baked in Harare and trans­ported to Mutare un­der po­lice es­cort for an an­nual cel­e­bra­tion tar­geted at Zim­bab­wean youths.

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