Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was awarded China’s Confucius Peace Prize — dubbed the country’s Nobel Peace Prize.
“Ever since Robert Mugabe was sworn in as the president of Zimbabwe in the 1980s, he has worked hard to bring political and economic order to the country and to improve the welfare of the Zimbabwean people by overcoming hardship,” the prize committee said in a statement.
During his 35-year tenure as Zimbabwe’s leader, Mugabe has been accused of violence and oppression. He has frequently used anti-LGBT rhetoric, including when he called same-sex relationships “inhuman.”
Last month, on the same day he was awarded the Confucius Peace Prize, Mugabe was at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he told other world leaders, “we are not gays.”
The prize was established in 2010 after the Chinese government disapproved of the Nobel committee awarding the peace prize to Lui Xiaobo, a rebellious writer who remains in prison for writing a pro-democracy manifesto, according to The Guardian.
The long-time leader beat out other nominees including Bill Gates, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, and South Korean president Park Guen-hye, according to the Chinese newspaper Global Times.
The chairman of the Confucius Peace Prize committee defended this year’s winner by saying Mugabe was honored for “injecting fresh energy,” into the global quest for harmony, according to The Guardian.
Past recipients of the prize include Vladimir Putin and Fidel Castro.