Kenyan President says gay ‘witch hunts’ are wrong, still bans gay sex

The President of Kenya has spoken out against vigilante ‘witch hunts’ targeting gay people – though he refuses to decriminalise gay sex.

Homosexuals face up to 14 years in jail in the country, and US President Barack Obama called for the decriminalisation of gay sex on a visit to Kenya over the summer.

The US President said that treating people differently eroded freedom and then “bad things happen” – but Kenya’s President Uhuru 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”.

Speaking to CNN this week, President Kenyatta said that while he doesn’t support the legalisation of gay sex, he doesn’t believe that gay people should face persecution.

He said: “The people in Kenya… at this point in time, to them this is not an issue that they are going to put at the center. They have more pressing issues.

“However, that said and done I will not allow people to persecute any individuals, or just to beat them, or to you know torture them.

“What I’m saying witch hunts – we won’t allow people to take the law into their own hands and harass [people].

“Every individual has a right to be protected by the law and that’s stated in our constitution.”

Of the country’s anti-gay law, he added: “I am not saying that these people don’t have their rights, that’s not what I’m saying.

“I am just saying that the majority in our society do not wish to legalize this issue of gay rights.”

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