On the first day of his visit to Africa, U.S president Barack Obama publicly disagreed with his Kenyan counterpart on the issue of gay rights.
Obama urged African nations not to discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation, but president Uhuru Kenyatta claimed Kenya does not share the same values, calling gay rights in the nation a “non-issue”.
Ahead of the trip, several Kenyan political and religious leaders had warned President Obama not to discuss gay rights while in the country, but the U.S president was keen to speak on the subject.
Speaking at a news conference, Obama said:
If somebody is a law-abiding citizen who is going about their business and working in a job and obeying the traffic signs and doing all the other things that good citizens are supposed to do and not harming anybody, the idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong.
Shortly after, Kenyatta said that although the U.S and Kenya share many values, gay rights is an issue on which the two countries disagree.
There are some things that we must agree we don’t share. Our culture, our societies don’t accept (homosexuality). This issue is not really an issue that is on the foremost mind of Kenyans and that is a fact.
While the U.S has made great strides on gay rights issue, with the Supreme Court recently legalising same-sex marriage across the country, many nations in Africa do not share the same views.
Same-sex relations are still illegal in Kenya and Ethiopia, where the president will travel on Sunday.