Gambia: We will not “cave in to pressure on homosexuality”

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, has warned foreign diplomats that his country would not be “bribed” with or dictated by promise of aid to accept homosexuality.

He said: “If you are to give us aid for men and men or for women and women to marry, leave it. We don’t need your aid because as far as I am the president of the Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country.”

The comments come less than a fortnight after 19 people, including citizens of Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria, were arrested and charged with “indecent practices in a public place” after being “suspected of homosexuality.” They face up to 14 years in prison.

Gambian Parliament opened on Saturday, and was attended by ambassadors from Britain and the US, both countries recently having said they will consider gay rights when considering aid. However, most African countries have reacted angrily, saying homosexuality is “un-African.”

Mr Jammeh has repeatedly condemned homosexuality, even going so far as to threatening beheading gay men and lesbian in 2008. He subsequently retracted the threat, after international condemnation.

“Sometimes you hear of a lot of noise about the laws of this country or my pronouncements,” Mr Jammeh said on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. “Let me make it very clear that … you will not bribe me to do what is evil and ungodly.”