President Uhuru Kenyatta has said gay rights is not a burning issue for Kenya at the moment.
In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN, President Kenyatta reiterated country’s stance on homosexuality saying that it goes against cultural beliefs of majority of Kenyans.
The President said same-sex relations is not an issue of human rights, but rather of “our own base as a culture”.
“I won’t engage in a subject that is of no importance to the people of Kenya. This is not an issue of human rights, this is an issue of our own base as a culture, as a people regardless of which community you come from,” President Kenyatta said.
Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya.
Ms Amanpour pressed the President about his personal opinion on the issue.
“This is not about Uhuru Kenyatta saying yes or no, this is an issue of the people of Kenya themselves who have bestowed upon themselves a Constitution after several years of clearly stating that this is not acceptable and is not a subject they are willing to engage in at this time and moment,” he said.
“This is a global issue. You don’t think the idea of their privacy, equality and rights is important?,” Ms Amanpour asked the President.
Mr Kenyatta replied: “It is important to them where they are. It’s not important to me as the leader of 49 million Kenyans. I represent that which our people desire us to believe.
“In years to come, after I am done being President, maybe our society will reach a state where that is an issues that people are willing to openly discuss.”
This is not the first time that the President has dismissed gay rights as a non-issue in public.
During a visit to Kenya in 2015, Barack Obama, the then US president, directly challenged Mr Kenyatta, on the need for equality for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community, suggesting that “bad things happen” when countries do not accept their citizens’ right to be homosexual.
Mr Kenyatta bluntly shut down Mr Obama’s discussion on gay rights terming it “a non-issue” and that Kenya is not keen on embracing homosexuality.
“We share a lot of things but gay issues are not among them… We cannot impose on people what they don’t accept,” Mr Kenyatta said.
At the moment, Mr Kenyatta said, Kenya has trained its eyes on boosting trade, health, democracy, security, women and youth empowerment, not gay rights
First Published by the Nation