Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday said he believes that gay men or lesbians “caught” in intimate encounters should be jailed.
In a speech in the Kenyan language of Kiswahili, Odinga pronounced, “[I]f a man is caught having sex with the other we jail them, or if a girl is caught with the other […] we will jail them.”
According to The Press Association, in the latter part of his remarks, Odinga used profanity to describe lesbianism. He continued, “We want a country that is clean, a clean way of doing thing has clean mannerisms…we do not want things to do with sodomy.”
The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, the country’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, said that it immediately began receiving concerned calls from its members following Odinga’s inflammatory statements. Some of the group’s HIV-positive members expressed panic that they might be arrested when they collect medicine from government clinics.
Though Kenya’s laws criminalize “sex against the order of nature” as an offense punishable by up to 14 years in prison, the nation’s government has included gay people in its plans to thwart the spread of HIV and AIDS. LGBT advocates fear the prime minister’s comments could threaten efforts to ease the AIDS epidemic in the country and lead to an even harsher social climate for LGBT citizens.