Raila Odinga, Kenya Prime Minister: Gays 'Should Be Arrested'
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has sparked the ire of international gay activists after calling for a crackdown on local gays and lesbians.
The BBC is reporting that Odinga made the offending proclamations before a mostly-conservative crowd of supporters in the Nairobi slum of Kibera on Sunday. "The constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared," he is quoted as saying. He then went on to note that "we want a country that is clean, a clean way of doing thing has clean mannerisms ... we do not want things to do with sodomy," according to the Associated Press.
According to MSNBC, homosexuality is currently illegal in Kenya in that the local constitution prohibits "sex against the order of nature," and is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
David Kuria from the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya called Odinga's comments "surprising," particularly given the fact that the prime minister is currently enjoying a wave of popularity throughout the nation. "We thought in this country we had made a lot of headway," he told the BBC. "People will succumb to extortion, blackmail and violence." Another activist noted that many HIV- positive residents had expressed concerns they would be subject to arrest when collecting medications from government clinics.
The AP reports Odinga's spokesman Dennis Onyango has since denied the allegations of homophobia, and said the prime minister had made the remarks only to clarify the government's stance on same-sex marriages.