President Yahya Jammeh
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh says that he will never accept the “evil” of homosexuality in his country as long as he is president.
Jammeh launched his tirade against gays and lesbians at a ceremony to swear in new cabinet ministers on Tuesday.
He rejected growing pressure from Western governments to end Africa’s oppressions of sexual minorities.
He also argued that homosexuality was alien to African culture, equating African tradition with the dictates of the Bible and the Quran, while failing to acknowledge that it is in fact both Christianity and Islam that were brought to Africa from elsewhere.
“If we Africans are to build our societies based on outside dictates and structure our cultures based on alien cultures, we will be the losers. But if they think they can sit there and dictate us how we should live, the Gambia will be the exception,” ranted Jammeh.
“It’s not in the Bible or Quran. It’s an abomination. I am telling you this because the new wave of evil that they want to impose on us will not be accepted in this country.
“As long as I am the president, I am not going to accept it in my government and in this country. We know what human rights are. Human beings of the same sex cannot marry or date – we are not from evolution but we are from creation and we know the beginning of creation – that was Adam and Eve,” raged Jammeh.
In 2008, Jammeh – who has been president since 1996 – gave gays and lesbians 24 hours to leave the country or threatened to have their heads cut off.
Article 144 of Gambia’s 1965 Criminal Code criminalises homosexual conduct as an “unnatural offence” and provides for a prison sentence of up to 14 years.