Gay rights has nothing to do with national priorities or even culture, but the representation of minority groups, Atheists in Kenya has said.
President Harrison Mumia said AIK was “disappointed” by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assertion that the matter is a non-issue for Kenya.
In a press conference at State House last Saturday, Uhuru said the country has more critical issues to focus on, including women’s rights, entrepreneurship and democracy.
“The country is grappling with many issues, but the fundamental rights and freedoms of gays and lesbians need to be respected, and protected by the state,” Mumia said in a statement.
Noting that homosexual relations are illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in jail, he said the constitution compels the state to protect minorities through affirmative action.
“This law is unconstitutional,” he said and asked the government to demonstrate tolerance and support gay rights.
In a joint press conference with US President Barack Obama, Uhuru said the Kenyan society cannot be forced to accept what they do not want.
He said while Kenya and US share common values for family, democracy and entrepreneurship, “there are other things that we do not share”.
“We need to be able to speak frankly about some of these things,” he said.
“It is very difficult to impose on people that which they do not accept. This issue is not really on the foremost minds of Kenyans and that is a fact.”
Obama had earlier said citizens observing the law should not face discrimination because of who they love.
Noting that he has been consistent with gay rights across Africa, he said treating people differently erodes freedom “and then bad things happen”.