Kenyan President smacks down Obama over gay rights
The President of Kenya has flatly rejected Barack Obama’s calls for gay rights, during Obama’s visit to the country.
The US President, whose father was from Kenya, is currently visiting the country for the first time as President.
During an interview with the BBC’s John Sopel prior to his visit Africa, President Obama said he would be “very blunt” about the need for equality in the country, where homosexuals face up to 14 years in Jail.
He said: “[In Africa previously] I was very blunt about my belief that everybody deserves fair treatment, equal treatment in the eyes of the law and the state.
“And that includes gays, lesbians, transgender persons. I am not a fan of discrimination and bullying of anybody on the basis of race, on the basis of religion, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender.
“I think that this is actually part and parcel of the agenda that’s also going to be front and centre, and that is how are we treating women and girls.”
At a joint press conference today, the pair did discuss the issue – but President Obama was flatly denied by the Kenyan leader.
President Obama voiced strong support for gay rights in Africa – but AP reports that Kenyatta branded it a “nonisssue”.
The US President said that treating people differently eroded freedom and then “bad things happen” – but Kenyatta told President Obama that while the US and Kenya agree on a lot, there are some things that cultures or societies “just don’t accept”.
Amid fears of a security threat during the visit, police and armed forces presence has increased across the country.
Following Kenya, Mr Obama will head to Ethiopia – where gay people can face up to 15 years in prison.
A White House spokesperson had previously stated that the President had every intention of discussing gay rights on his trip to Kenya – despite the country’s warnings not to.
Anti-gay protesters have made repeated attempts to discourage the President to from promoting gay rights during his visit to the country, taking to social media and the streets of Nairobi in an attempt to dissuade any discussion on the matter.
A Kenyan political group had also planned to protest the President’s upcoming visit by asking 5,000 people to march naked through the streets – however, the march was cancelled after the Kenyan security forces intervened.
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