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Mugabe turns 88 with anti-gay tirade

Mugabe turns 88 with anti-gay tirade

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 88th birthday on Saturday with a tirade of homophobic abuse.

The African leader told supporters at a mass rally to celebrate the ocassion that NGOs have 'stupid ideas' and blasted UK Prime Minister David Cameron for his pro-gay rights stance.

'Nature is nature. It has created male and female,' Mugabe said. 'That's how we were born, so we reject that outright and say to hell with you.'

A new constitution is currently being drafted in the run-up to elections and he called for voters to reject gay rights in the charter.

Mugabe, who has ranted about homosexuality for years, has previously branded gays ‘worse than dogs’.

During the speech, which was broadcast on the country's state television, he attacked gay marriage saying, 'Please, young men and women, you don't have the freedom for men to marry men and women to marry women.'

The rally of 200 people was held in the eastern city of Mutare and was also marked with a lavish birthday party in the capital Harare.

Mugabe is now Africa's oldest leader but claims he is 'fit as a fiddle' and vowed to run for President again, ending a power-sharing government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and two members of the same sex caught kissing or even holding hands can face a jail sentence.

Mugabe, a devout Catholic, has repeatedly said he believed same-sex relationships were morally wrong and has criticised MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for backing gay rights.

Opponents of Mugabe’s homophobic rule threatened to out the closet gays in his party in December.