Kenya’s deputy president has said there is “no room” for homosexuality in Kenyan society, the latest comments from an African government to anger activists and likely also to annoy Western donors who say gay people are targeted on the continent.
William Ruto made the remarks at a church service on Sunday, the day US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived for talks. The US has been at the forefront of calls for gay rights in Africa and criticises anti-gay laws on the continent.
“The Republic of Kenya is a republic that worships God. We have no room for gays and those others,” Ruto told a Nairobi church congregation, according to an online video posted by Kenyan broadcaster KTN.
Ruto’s spokesman Emmanuel Talam yesterday confirmed the deputy president’s remarks, adding: “The government believes that homosexual relations are unnatural and unAfrican.”
Neighbouring Uganda passed a law last year that toughened prison sentences against gay people. It was later struck down by a court.
Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and has been so since colonial British rule, which ended in 1963.
Kenyan activists condemned Ruto’s remarks on social media.
“Kenya’s deputy president joins an important tradition by Africans in power to spread hate in church on a Sunday,” Binyavanga Wainana, a prominent Kenyan writer who is openly gay, said on his Twitter account.
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