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Kenya PM backtracks on ‘arrest gays’ threat

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Kenya’s Prime Minister has done an abrupt about face on his comments just days earlier that gays and lesbians in the country should be arrested.

Raila Odinga’s statements in front of a cheering crowd that gays should be taken to the authorities for arrest sparked fear among Kenya’s LGBT population.

Since that statement on November 28th, health workers have said such anti-gay sentiments threaten HIV prevention. And Kenya’s largest gay-rights group blames Odinga’s inflammatory rhetoric for an attack in Nairobi the next day that left a young gay man stabbed and genitals hacked.

Speaking Thursday at the Kenya national dialogue and reconciliation conference, with former UN chief Kofi Annan present, Prime Minister Odinga said he has been misquoted.

Odinga: “I have been accused of having ordered that gays should be arrested. (laughter) However, on this platform I would like to say that nothing could be further from the truth.”

And in a landmark statement from a Kenyan leader, Odinga acknowledged that gays have rights

Odinga: “I did not say anyway that police would arrest the gays, because I know of gay rights and would not do so.”

But the manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya tell’s OutQ News that Odinga needs to do and say far more.

David Kuria: “He needs to come out and ask Kenyans to tolerate each other, regardless of their differences.”

David Kuria says that if Odinga really believes in gay rights, stop making homosexuality illegal.

Kuria: “Why does he not call for decriminilisation? “Better yet, let him move the bill in Parliament himself.”

–Steve Newman

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Written by OutQ News staff

December 7, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Posted in Crime, Politicians

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