Thursday, December 2, 2010

Raila denies gays' arrest order

Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses a rally in Kamukunji, Nairobi on November 28, 2010. He has denied that he ordered the arrest of gay couples but still maintained that such unions were unlawful December 2, 2010. FILE

Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses a rally in Kamukunji, Nairobi on November 28, 2010. He has denied that he ordered the arrest of gay couples but still maintained that such unions were unlawful December 2, 2010. FILE 

By OLIVER MATHENGE, omathenge@ke.nationmedia.com

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has denied that he ordered the arrest of gay couples but maintained that such unions were unlawful.

The PM said that he was quoted out of context after he warned Kenyans against having intimate relations with persons of the same gender on Sunday.

Speaking as he made his opening speech at the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Conference in Nairobi Thursday, the PM said that he respected gay rights but was cautioning young people on what the new Constitution says.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. I explained the propaganda that was being used to fight the draft constitution that the new law would allow every hospital to have abortion wards and that gay marriages would be allowed,” said Mr Odinga.

“I did not say that police should arrest the gays. I just told the youth that they will be committing a crime by marrying persons of the same sex.”

The PM has come under fire over comments he made on Sunday in Kibera to the effect that gay couples should be arrested.

Addressing a rally at Kamukunji grounds in his Langata Constituency, the PM said their behaviour was unnatural.

The remarks also came months after Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi attracted the wrath of Kenyans for calling for recognition and acceptance of gays.

During the World Aids Day celebrations on Wednesday, gays and lesbians held a silent march asking Mr Odinga to withdraw orders to arrest them. They described the statement as ‘dangerous’ and could instigate violence.

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