Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Thursday that he's been misquoted and has never called for the arrests of gay people, the AFP reported.

Speaking Sunday at a rally in Kenya's largest slum, Kibera, Odinga told the crowd that any Kenyan found engaging in gay sex will be arrested and jailed.

“Even women found engaging in sexual activities will be arrested,” he added.

His alleged comments rattled gay rights groups.

But on Thursday, the premier backtracked, saying he was misquoted by the press. At a conference on Kenya's progress since the 2008 post-election violence, he said he understood “there are gay rights.”

In addressing the Sunday rally, Odinga had argued that there was “no need” for gay people since the nation was evenly split between men and women.

“This kind of behavior will not be tolerated in this country. Men or women found engaging in these acts deserve to be arrested and will be arrested,” the press quoted him saying.

Engaging in “homosexual acts” is currently a crime in Kenya, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Anti-gay sentiment in Africa is common. Last month, a Uganda paper published the names and photos of the country's “top” gay men and lesbians alongside a yellow banner that read “hang them.” Conservative lawmakers insist they'll approve a bill that would make being gay under certain circumstances an offense punishable by death.