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Outrage after Mugabe calls Jamaican men 'lazy ganja smokers'

COMMENTS: Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe

ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is facing pressure to return an official Jamaican award after reportedly claiming the nation's men are lazy ganja smokers.

There have been calls for Mugabe to return the Order of Jamaica, the island’s fourth highest honour following reports he slated Jamaican men.

While addressing a university conference in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, he was said to have told his audience: “In Jamaica, they have freedom to smoke cannabis. The men are always high and universities are full of women."

While delivering the three-hour speech, the 88-year-old allegedly added: “The men want to sing and do not go to colleges, some of them twist their hair.”

His comments have led to angry outbursts from Jamaicans both in the island and in the UK, with one of the island’s shadow ministers demanding he hand back the honour he was given during a state visit to the island in 1996.

Jamaica’s shadow foreign minister Christopher Tufton branded Mugabe’s alleged comments “inappropriate and rude”.

Tufton told The Jamaica Gleaner the Zimbabwean president should consider returning that award “if he had such a low opinion of the Jamaicans”.

The comments have also prompted phone calls and emails into The Voice , with readers stating their anger over what was said.

There was also criticism of Mugabe on social networking website Facebook.

In an email to The Voice , Leka McBea-Thomas said: “Mugabe should return the award. He received it in good faith, yet he has the audacity to criticise and disrespect Jamaica like that.

“He is putting down our heritage, culture and our people. He does not deserve any award from us if that is how he views such a great country as Jamaica.”

On Facebook, Yvonne Braime wrote: “I think he should give it back. That man is evil.”

Another reader, Edger Emmanuel Beckford II, added: “I agree. He should give it back ASAP just for his outburst and everything he stands for.”

But not everyone agreed the Zimbabwean president should give the award back.

One reader, calling himself Kabbie Jay, said on Facebook he believed Mugabe was telling “arguable truth”.

In addition, Voice Facebook page user Alan Springer said Mugabe should be allowed to keep it although he questioned why he got the Order of Jamaica in the first place.

He said: “The question that needs asking is what Mugabe has done to merit the Order in the first place. (But) I am not sure you can just take it away again just because he said something you don't like.”

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