Govt raps Clinton, UN agencies
Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor
GOVERNMENT is disturbed that some United Nations agencies have turned themselves into lobby groups who think they have the locus standi to snipe at a sitting Head of State and Government like President Mugabe when they are mere employees of the world body, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba has said.
The pronouncement by Mr Charamba; who is also Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services; follows a petition signed by 12 UN agencies criticising President Mugabe for denouncing homosexuality and the West for trying to prescribe homosexuality on Africans and the developing world.
In his address to the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, President Mugabe told the West that “We (Zimbabweans) are not gays”.
The Herald understands that Government will soon raise the matter with the UN Office in Harare.
Government also took the opportunity to remind Democrat presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton that she is too junior to remark on President Mugabe’s UN address as the President only “relates to sitting Heads of State and Government not aspiring candidates”.
Mrs Clinton was in the news for criticising President Mugabe’s anti-gay stance going as far as claiming that homosexuals were being jailed in Zimbabwe.
“We are not only very surprised but disturbed that international civil servants running agencies of the intergovernmental institution called the United Nations have turned themselves into lobby groups or lobby agencies who think they have the status to snipe at a sitting Head of State and Government,” Mr Charamba said.
“In the first place, the President was addressing the world from a UN podium. He was not addressing UN civil servants or any one agency, not even the secretary general is his interlocutor.”
Added Mr Charamba: “He is speaking to the world as Head of State from a podium of an institution which Zimbabwe is State part. It is incongruous for employees of that institution to take the President to task. As who? Even if we were to grant them that status, which they do not have, out of 30 agencies only 12 signed the petition against the President. It would appear strange that 12 is larger than 18. Doesn’t that diminish their competence to pronounce themselves on the matter or are they gay agencies themselves?”
On Mrs Clinton, Mr Charamba said President Mugabe was far beyond the US presidential aspirant by any measure.
“The President relates to sitting Heads of State not aspiring candidates which Clinton is. The President was not just speaking as Head of State for Zimbabwe. He was speaking as the African Union chair which puts him above what Clinton can ever hope to be. What can only surmise is that she is feeling the heat from contestation both from within her party and from the Republicans which is why arikurotomoka (she is hallucinating),” he said.
Mr Charamba said the US embassy in Zimbabwe should assist Mrs Clinton with correct information.
“In the first place, we have no lesbians or homosexuals in jail in this country. Wherever she is getting her information is a very strange place. The embassy here must help her.”
Yesterday UN agencies in Zimbabwe tried to retreat from the petition.
UNAIDS country director Mr Michael Bartos, speaking on behalf of UN country representative in Zimbabwe Mr Bishow Parajuli said: “It is important to first clarify that in no sense was the statement by the 12 agencies in response to or directed to the President. It is complete coincidence.”
He claimed the petition by the 12 agencies was prepared before President Mugabe’s UN General Assembly address.
“It is misapprehension to say it was in response to the President’s remarks. It was coincidence…The statement was directed to all countries and the world focusing on the need to recognise same sex people and against violation of their human rights,” added Mr Bartos.
UNAIDS is among the 12 UN agencies that signed the petition.
Others were Unicef, Unesco, UNHCR, UNDP, UNODC, UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, ILO, WFP and UN Human Rights.