Obama in Kenya: Gay rights in Africa are ‘like rights for African Americans’

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The latest on President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

President Barack Obama is warning that corruption may be the biggest impediment to Kenya’s growth and opportunities in the future.

Obama is speaking in a joint news conference in Nairobi with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. He says he believes Kenyatta is serious about going after corruption.

Obama says it’s a basic issue of math for international businesses that are concerned about their profit margins. He says companies will be concerned about doing business in Kenya if 5 percent or 10 percent of the cost of investing is being diverted due to corruption.

Obama says the U.S. has seen “all kinds of corruption” in the past. But he says the U.S. over time has showed that when people decide it’s a priority to stop it, corruption can be stopped.

He says it’s critical to go after corruption at the highest level of government and not just at lower levels.

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5:20 p.m.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says gay rights are a “nonissue” in Kenya and that the issue is not a priority.

Kenyatta was asked about gay rights during a joint news conference with President Barack Obama in Nairobi. Obama voiced strong support for gay rights in Africa.

But Kenyatta says while the U.S. and Kenya agree on a lot, there are some things that cultures or societies just don’t accept.

Gay sex is a crime in Kenya punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Kenyatta says it’s very difficult to impose beliefs on people that they don’t accept. He says his government wants to focus elsewhere.

Kenyatta says after Kenya deals with other, more pressing issues such as terrorism, it can begin to look at new issues. But he says for the moment, gay rights isn’t at the forefront for Kenyans.

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5:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama is likening gay rights in Africa to rights for African-Americans in the United States.

Obama says he is “unequivocal” on the issue of gay rights and discrimination. He says it is wrong for law-abiding citizens to be treated differently under the law because of who they love.

Obama says he’s been consistent in pressing the issue when he meets with African leaders.

The president says he knows that some people have different religious or cultural beliefs. But he says governments don’t need to weigh in on religious doctrine. He says governments simply have to treat everyone the same.

Obama says as an African-American, he’s “painfully aware” of what happens when a government treats some people differently. He says, “Those habits can spread.”

Obama was asked about gay rights in Kenya at a joint news conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenya criminalizes gay sexual relations and prominent politicians had warned Obama not to bring up gay rights during his visit to the country.

Source: The Latest: Obama warns corruption may thwart Kenya’s growth

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