In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed the human rights of Kenya’s LGBT citizens as unimportant.
Kenyatta was asked by Amanpour if he supported the idea that LGBTQ people should have “the same privacy and equality as all other Kenyans do.”
Shaking his head, the president responded that, “I will not engage in a subject that is of no major importance to the people of the republic of Kenya.” He insisted that, “this is not an issue… of human rights” but an “issue of society, of our own base as a culture, as a people.”
Kenyatta said that, “Regardless of which community you come from [in Kenya] this is not acceptable, this is not agreeable.”
He argued that LGBTQ equality is not a matter for him to decide on but that, “This is an issue for the people of Kenya themselves… [They] have clearly stated that this is not a subject that they are willing to engage in.”
Kenyatta acknowledged that some time in the future, perhaps “long after I’m president, who knows maybe our society will have reached the stage where those are issues that people are willing freely and openly to discuss…”
He added that the criminalisation of homosexuality “is one hundred percent supported by ninety-nine percent of the Kenyan people, regardless of where they come from.”
When pushed on whether LGBT people should be discriminated against or be violated or abused, Kenyatta said that, “No Kenyan should be abused, should be mistreated… but they also must recognise that their freedoms must be taken into the entire context of the society that they live in.”
Homosexuality is outlawed in Kenya, with penalties including five to 14 years in prison. There is, however, a legal bid underway to repeal these sections of the Penal Code as unconstitutional. The next scheduled court date for the matter is on 26 April.
Last month, in a separate case, the Court of Appeals in Kenya delivered a significant victory for the LGBT community when it ruled that forcing men to undergo anal examinations for “evidence” of homosexuality is unlawful.