November 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Embattled Zimbabwe president resists calls to resign

Embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has resisted calls to resign.(Photo public domain)

Embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday did not say whether he will resign from the office he has held for 37 years.

Mugabe read a statement on Zimbabwean television less than a week after the country’s military placed him under house arrest. The military moved against Mugabe after he fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in an apparent attempt to allow his wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.

Members of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF on Sunday voted to remove Robert Mugabe as their party leader and said lawmakers would begin impeachment proceedings against him if he didn’t resign by 12 p.m. local time on Monday. Media reports also indicate ZANU-PF members expelled Grace Mugabe “forever.”

Robert Mugabe, 93, has ruled Zimbabwe since the country’s independence from the U.K. in 1980. His government has frequently targeted LGBT activists, opposition leaders and other groups.

Robert Mugabe in 1995 described gays and lesbians as “dogs and pigs.”

He said in a 2013 speech he gave in the city of Masvingo said gay men and lesbians “should rot in jail.”

Robert Mugabe in the same year told supporters in another speech that authorities should arrest gay men and lesbians who don’t conceive children. Robert Mugabe also criticized the Anglican Church for blessing same-sex marriage and then-President Obama over his support of the issue.

Robert Mugabe has described homosexuality as “inhuman.” Robert Mugabe in a 2014 speech that marked Zimbabwe’s independence from the U.K. threatened to expel foreign diplomats who promote LGBT rights in the country.

More than 30 people were injured in 2014 when a group of men attacked an LGBT rights organization’s end-of-the-year party. Consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized in Zimbabwe.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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