President Yahya Jammeh
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has once again threatened gay people with death.
Vice News obtained a translation of a speech Jammeh delivered in the Wolof language in the town of Farafeni last week.
He not only advocated violence against LGBT people but also restated the widely held view in many parts of Africa that homosexuality is being pushed onto the continent by the West.
“If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat — if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it,” Jammeh ranted.
The comments are nothing new. The despotic leader, who has been in power since 1994, has built a reputation for being virulently homophobic.
In 2008, Jammeh infamously gave gays and lesbians 24 hours to leave the country or face having their heads cut off.
He’s likened LGBT people to vermin and malaria-causing mosquitoes and said that homosexuality is amongst the biggest threats facing the world.
Jammeh also claimed to be able to cure HIV and AIDS with natural herbs and has been accused of numerous human rights abuses and of restricting freedom of the press.
In October last year, he signed an anti-gay law that created the crime of “aggravated homosexuality”, which carries punishment of up to life in prison. Homosexuality was already illegal in The Gambia under British colonial era laws and those found guilty of “unnatural offences” face up to 14 years in prison.
The new law was followed by the reported arrest, detention and torture of a number of people on suspicion of homosexuality by the country’s National Intelligence Agency, a move condemned by international human rights groups.
In December 2014, the US dropped The Gambia from a major trade agreement because of its human rights abuses.