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The LGBTQ+ question: Responses from 5 African presidents

The question surrounding LGBTQ+ rights has always been a point of concern every time a new president is elected in Kenya and other African countries.

On Wednesday, president-elect William Ruto joined this list when CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour delved into the subject during an interview.

Dr Ruto, in his response, said as far as Kenya is concerned there is a constitution that is very clear on the matter. He also stated that as a country, Kenyans have traditions and customs that should be respected.

“We have Kenyan law, we have Kenyan constitution, we have our tradition, customs; we will continue to respect other people’s customs as they respect our customs and traditions. We also have what we believe in and we expect to be respected for that too,” Dr Ruto said.

Also read: President-Elect Ruto gives his take on the LGBTQ+ community in Kenya

Outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta was also once put to task over the LGBTG question in a previous interview with CNN.

“I shall not engage in a subject that is not of any major importance to the people of Kenya. This is not acceptable, it is not agreeable. This is an issue of the people of Kenya themselves who have bestowed themselves a constitution have clearly stated that this is not a subject they are willing to engage in at this time or moment,” President Kenyatta said during that interview.

But it seems the matter has not only been raised in Kenya, presidents of other African countries have also at one time or the other been confronted with the same question.

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Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, during an interview with CNN, is on record for asking the western world to respect African values.

“Respect African values if you do not agree you just keep quiet and let us manage our society the way we see it. If we are wrong we shall find out by ourselves, just the way we do not interfere with yours… Of course they are disgusting what sort of people are they, what they do is terrible,” Museveni said.

Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh held an even stronger position on the LGBTG question.

Also read: No, I’m not gay – I’m only entertaining my fans, Eric Omondi says

“Africans have never been homosexuals, we have never seen homosexual frogs, I have cattle I have never seen gay cattle and homosexuality is a detriment out of human existence. It is un-African, unethical it is un-Godly. Go read the Bible and the Quran. We are Muslims and we believe in whatever Allah says is haram we will make sure it is haram,” Jammeh once said.

Former Zimbabwean president the late Robert Mugabe, during an address at the United Nations General Assembly also expressed similar views.

“We equally reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs. We are not gays,” Mugabe said.

Also read: Kenyan celebrities who are proudly gay