Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has asked the visiting US President Barack Obama to respect the values and wishes of the Kenyan society.
Gay rights is “a non-issue” and Kenya is not keen on embracing homosexuality, Kenyatta is quoted by Daily Nation telling Obama during their bilateral meeting at State House Nairobi.
Kenyatta on Friday urged the US to respect the will of the Kenyan society, which he said had rejected same-sex marriages.
“And when a government gets in a habit of people treating people differently, those habits can spread,” Obama said.
He added: “As an African-American, I am painfully aware of what happens when people are treated differently under the law.”
Kenyatta responded saying, the fact of the matter is Kenya and the U.S. share so many values like common love for democracy, entrepreneurship, value for families but their societies were different.
“But there are some things that we must admit we don’t share. Our culture, our societies don’t accept. It is very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept,” Kenyatta continued.
“This is why I repeatedly say for Kenyans today the (gay rights issue) is generally a non-issue. We want to focus on other areas.”
“We cannot impose on people what they don’t accept,” Kenyatta said during a joint press conference at State House, Nairobi.
At the moment, Kenyatta said, Kenya has trained its eyes on boosting trade, health, democracy, security, women and youth empowerment, not gay rights.
Obama had earlier emphasised the need for Kenya to stop discriminating against gays and lesbians, saying all people, including homosexuals, should be treated equally under the law.
“When a government starts treating people differently, that habit starts to spread,” he said, adding that segregating people based on their sexual orientation “erodes freedoms.”
This was in response to deputy president, William Ruto’s call to Obama not to advocate for gay rights while in Kenya.