Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has firmly reiterated that he will continue to respect Kenyan laws regarding same-sex relationships. Kenya like much of Africa criminalize such relationships.
The president said even though the subject was of no major importance for citizens, an overwhelming majority of Kenyans fully supported legislation criminalizing same-sex unions.
He was speaking during an interview with American cable-television network CNN’s Christine Amanpour on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which ended last Friday in London.
This is an issue of society, of our own base as a culture, as a people, regardless of which community you come from, this is not acceptable, this is not agreeable.
“I have to be honest with you, these are the positions we have always maintained, those are the laws that we have and those laws are 100% supported by 99% of the Kenyan people, regardless of where they come from,” he said.
He added that contrary to how the host wanted to portray the subject as one of human rights and personal freedoms, to Kenyans it was far more than that, he said it was a societal and cultural issue for most citizens.
“This is an issue of society, of our own base as a culture, as a people, regardless of which community you come from, this is not acceptable, this is not agreeable. This is not about Uhuru Kenyatta saying yes or no.”
He said, whiles he will not rule out the discussion coming up years after he is president, he was ready to defend the laws as they are now and to also do so whiles ensuring that any Kenyan obeying the laws is not harassed of violated.
Much of Africa maintains colonial laws that expressly criminalize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. East Africa is a hotbed for clamping down on such people with Uganda and Tanzania being top of the chart.
Over in southern Africa, except South Africa where it is legal, Zambia and Zimbabwe have increasingly cautioned people of the orientation and even arrested some of them. The cries by human rights groups have done very little to dissuade government from enforcing existing laws.
At the opening of the Commonwealth Summit, Prime Minister Theresa May said she regretted that Britain contributed to what she called ‘biased and discriminatory’ laws and urged countries to revoke those laws. She has received a heavy backlash on social media spheres across Africa.