Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on
Tuesday claimed that gay rights threaten Gambia's culture.
Speaking at a swearing-in ceremony of
cabinet ministers, Jammeh, 46, described homosexuality as a Western
notion being imposed on the African nation.
“If we Africans are to build our
societies based on outside dictates and structure our cultures based
alien cultures, we will be the losers,” Jollofnews.com
quoted him as saying. “But if they think they can sit there and
dictate [to] us how we should live, then Gambia will be the
Jammeh's comments were widely seen as a
response to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's recent
appeal to African leaders to respect gay rights.
“One form of discrimination ignored
or even sanctioned by many states for too long has been
discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Ban
said last month during a two-day summing in Addis Ababa,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also
it was a “violation of human rights when governments declare it is
illegal to be gay.”
Jammeh went on to say that gay rights
threaten Gambian culture.
“It's [gay marriage] not in the Bible
or Qur'an. It's an abomination,” he said. “I am telling you
this because the new wave of evil that they want to impose on us will
not be accepted by this country.”
“As long as I am the president, I am
not going to accept it in my government and in this country. We know
what human rights are. Human beings of the same sex cannot marry or
date. We are not from evolution but we are from creation and we know
the beginning of creation – that was Adam and Eve.”
“Did God make a mistake? No! If you
think it is human right to destroy our culture, you are making a
mistake because if you are in Gambia, you are in the wrong place.
Discipline based on our tradition will be enforced to the letter.”
Gay sex is a crime in Gambia punishable
by up to 14 years imprisonment.