Last edited: February 20, 2005

Kenya’s Moi Joins Attack on Gays in Africa

Reuters, September 30, 1999

NAIROBI—Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi has joined a growing list of African leaders to attack gays, saying homosexuality is a "scourge" that goes against Christian teachings and African traditions.

Speaking at an agricultural show in Nairobi on Wednesday, Moi said Kenyans should guard against "dangerous practices" such as homosexuality.

"It is not right that a man should go with another man or a woman with another woman. It is against African tradition and Biblical teachings," the 75-year-old Moi said. "I will not shy away from warning Kenyans against the dangers of the scourge."

Yoweri Museveni, president of neighbouring Uganda, earlier this week ordered the arrest of homosexuals for carrying out what he described as "abominable acts."

Homosexuality is illegal or taboo in many African countries and few gay people feel able to be open about their sexuality.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been particularly outspoken in his condemnation of homosexuality, once describing gay people as "lower than dogs."

Moi made fun of gays in his comments on Wednesday.

"Now we are seeing men wearing earrings to make it easy for them to be identified by other men," he said to laughter from the audience.

More and more young men in Kenya’s urban areas wear earrings but many of them are simply copying Western music stars whose videos are shown on Kenyan television.

Earrings are also part of traditional dress for some of Kenya’s oldest tribes, including its Maasai warriors.

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