The 44th President of the United States of America; Barack Obama has rebuked Kenya and other African countries that have criminalized homosexuality and ignored the need for gay rights. To mark 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 aged 95, Obama gave a speech to mark Mandela Day in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday, and called for “resistance” on those discriminating people based on sexual orientation.
The former US leader particularly mentioned his father’s homeland, Kenya as one of the African nations belittling “basic human rights” on sexuality.
“We’ve to actively resist this notion. This is important particularly in some African countries like my own…my father’s homeland (Kenya),” he said in his speech honoring the late South African leader.
“I have made this point before that we have to resist the notion of beating up and jailing people because of their sexual orientation.”
Mr Obama indirectly told President Kenyatta not to dismiss gay rights, this comes after an interview with CNN’s Christian Amonpour in London, United Kingdom in April, where President Uhuru termed homosexuality as a “non-issue” in Kenya. And added that gay rights is not a burning issue for Kenya.
Obama urged African leaders to stop dismissing gay rights as ‘Western ideas.’ “We have to be careful to say somehow that these issues don’t apply to us,” he said to a rousing applause. This is not the first time the US President is rebuking Kenya for discriminating against gays. In his visit to Kenya in July 2015, Obama said the government had no right to punish people because of “who they love”.
“I would have thought we would have figured that out by now. I thought that basic notion was well-established, turns out in this recent drift in reactionary politics, the struggle for basic justice is never truly finished,” Obama said in South Africa yesterday.
He added: “I believe we have no choice but to move forward, that those of us who believe in democracy and civil rights have a better story to tell.”
The Obama administration is famous for accumulating an impressive and unprecedented record on gay rights and obviously these issues won’t take a back seat with his foundation making waves in Africa and around the world. We will be monitoring the response from his criticism to see how African leaders respond and The RustinTimes says a big thank you to Barack Obama for championing the cause in and outside political office.
This post was made with excerpts from the Daily Nation