President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated that gay rights are of less importance to Kenyans.
Speaking in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour aired on Friday night, Uhuru said the topic was a non-issue and goes against cultural beliefs of majority of Kenyans.
“I want to be very clear, I will not engage in any subject that is not of any major importance to the people and the Republic of Kenya. This is not an issue of human rights, this is an issue of society, of our own base as a culture as a people regardless of which society you come from.”
He added: “They also must recognize that their freedom must also be taken into the entire context of the society that they live in because this is not a question of the government accepting or not accepting. This is a question of society”.
The President further pointed out that the Kenyan law clearly stipulates that homosexuality is illegal and majority of Kenyans support that.
“Those are the laws that we have and those are the laws that are 100 percent supported by 99 percent of Kenyans regardless of where they come from,” he said.
This is the second time Uhuru is shutting down the discussion on gay right after he dismissed Barrack Obama’s call to embrace LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community in 2015.
The delicate issue popped up during a press briefing at State House as former US President Obama differed sharply with President Uhuru, over the handling of those involved.
Responding to a question from journalists Obama pleaded the case of those “with a different sexual orientation”, asking the Uhuru administration not to discriminate against such individuals.
But Uhuru flatly rejected the idea of promoting gay and lesbian rights.
“We need to speak frankly about some of these issues. Kenyans and Americans share ideals such as democracy, entrepreneurship and family values but some things are not part of our religion or culture – and we cannot impose something on people that they don’t like,” said Uhuru.
But stating that he believed in the principle of treating people equally under the law, Obama warned against the notion of discriminating people based on their sexual orientation.
When Christiane floored him on the post-poll violence experienced in 2017, Uhuru denied responsibility saying his government had no hand to it.
“Nobody celebrates death of any kind. It is very clear that there were unfortunate incidences and some were actively instigated by certain individuals for political gain. If I was to assess the situation that happened, Kenya has come a long way from the problems we experienced in 2010 when it was basically all out war. We need to mature to a level where we must accept that competitive politics does not mean enmity,” a stern Uhuru said.
He would tell CNN’s Amanpour that those affected will have a channel to seek justice. He, however, did not give a timeline to these plans.
“As a parent myself, I sympathise with them and I give them my assurance that I will do everything that is in my power to ensure that this kind of thing never happens again and make available all channels to ensure that anybody who lost life or property is availed a channel to get justice,” he pledged.
When grilled on the widely criticised media shutdown that followed Raila Odinga’s swearing in, Uhuru faulted the media, insisting they breached the law.
“Kenya is a country that has over 70 channels operating including CNN. Only three media houses were shut down and this is after a detailed discussion prior to when the shutdown occurred with all those media houses, with all of us agreeing with our legal people that what they were going to air was tantamount to treason,” stated Uhuru.