I respect gay rights, says PM

December 2, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday denied that he had ordered a nationwide crackdown on homosexuals but maintained that such unions were illegal.

He argued that he was misquoted and that his statements were not meant to victimise anyone because: “I understand there are gay rights.”

The Premier, who was speaking during the opening session of the review on Kenya’s progress two years after the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Accord was signed, also argued that he was only highlighting some of the half truths that were used during the referendum campaigns.

“It was said that I ordered the arrest of gay people but nothing could be further from the truth. I did not say that. I was just explaining the propaganda used by people who were campaigning against the new constitution,” he argued.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga was captured on camera saying: “We will not tolerate such behaviour in the country. The Constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared.

“Any man found engaging in sexual activities with another man should be arrested. Even women found engaging in sexual activities will be arrested,” the premier had warned.

The Prime Minister also cited the recent population census results which put the ratio of men to women equal, and wondered why people should engage in homosexuality.

”This [homosexual] kind of behaviours will not be tolerated in this country. Men or women found engaging in those acts deserve to be arrested and will be arrested,” he told a crowd in his Langata constituency.

He said leaders who were propagating rumours of same sex marriages in Kenya during campaigns for the new Constitution had failed miserably because Kenyans did not buy their propaganda.

”Those were lies from leaders who wanted to confuse Kenyans to reject the new law; the Constitution is very clear on that matter. It does not state anywhere that same sex marriage is legal in Kenya,” he added.

His remarks on Sunday elicited an outcry from various human rights groups in the country which wanted him to retract the said statements and apologise.

The Bill of Rights under chapter four of the new Constitution states that: “Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties.”


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