US President Barack Obama will arrive in Kenya on July 24 for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
US President Barack Obama will not hesitate to advocate for gay rights during his visit to Kenya, the White House has said.
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi have declared that homosexuality is unacceptable in Kenya and Parliament would respond to “any advances perceived to encroach on our social fabric,” which was perceived in the country as a gag order.
The two and a clutch of lawmakers cautioned Obama against asking Kenya to embrace same-sex marriages when he visits this month.
“Liberal thoughts are being entertained in some countries under the guise of human rights. We must be vigilant and guard against it (gay marriages). We must lead an upright society and not allow obnoxious behaviour as we have a responsibility to protect our children,” the speaker said behind the backdrop of the Anglican Church cathedral in Embu County where he hails from.
But Press Secretary Joshua Earnest say despite calls by Kenyan leaders that he refrains from the subject of gay rights, President Obama may actually do the opposite.
“I’m confident the President will not hesitate to make it clear that protection of fundamental human rights is also a priority for Kenya, something we hold dear here in the United States of America,” Mr Earnest said.
The Presidency, through State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu, said Kenya would not tell President Obama what to say. The US president will arrive on July 24 for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
“The government believes in freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution and respects the position taken by the US Government on gays following a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that same-sex unions will be recognised,” Mr Esipisu said.
He added: “We have been clear that as the president travels around the world, he does not hesitate to raise concerns about human rights”.
Meanwhile, three civil society groups have called for tolerance towards gays and lesbians.
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KNHCR), the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya and the Gay Kenya Trust said isolating them exposes them to health risks.
“Such minorities are exposed to diseases such as HIV when isolated because this forces them to shy away from seeking treatment,” KNHCR deputy executive director Davis Malombe said.