Gambia: No Room for Gays & Lesbians
Three people have been arrested in the Gambia this week on indecency charges related to homosexuality.
Two women, who are from the Gambia, and one Nigerian man were arrested on charges of indecent gay practices.
The two women were said to have been engaged in an indecent practice in public with the man admitting a similar offense.
All pleaded guilty and were bailed for a week.
Yahya Jammeh, the President of the Gambia, has said those who think gay rights are human rights in the African state are making a “big mistake”.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh reiterated his stance that he would never accept homosexuality in his country, after recent pressure from abroad on African states to respect gay rights.
In 2008, Jammeh gave an ultimatum to homosexuals to leave the country and vowed to “cut off the head” of any homosexual found in the Gambia.
Mr Jammeh vowed to introduce laws which were stricter than those in Iran, where gay acts between men are punishable by death. The Gambia is a mainly Muslim country.
Article 144 of the Criminal Code currently makes any gay sexual act punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment.
The president retracted a threat to decapitate gays but said they would be driven out of their homes.
“If we Africans are to build our societies based on outside dictates and structure, our cultures based on alien cultures, we will be the losers,” said Jammeh.
“We know what human rights are. Human beings of the same sex cannot marry or date.”
In the midst of the chorus of widespread condemnations of the imposition of values and norms alien to Africa under the pretext of human rights, the Gambian leader has made his position clear, denouncing in the strongest term possible terms what he called “ungodly gay marriages”, saying his country has no “room for gays and lesbians”.
His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh made the condemnation at the Legislative Chambers, while presiding over the 2012 State Opening of the National Assembly.
“If you want us to be ungodly for you to give us aid, take your aid away, we will survive. We will rather eat grass than accept this ungodly evil attitude that is anti-God, anti-human and anti-creation. What is interesting is that Muslim veils have been banned [in some Western countries], and they want us to accept gays and lesbians in Africa, hell no! It will not happen in this country.
We will not allow anything that is ungodly to take place on this soil. If you are caught and sent to jail, we will make sure that you are separated and put you in one jail where you will not see a man. We will not lock homosexuals in one jail.”
President Jammeh stressed that one thing that they will never compromise for whatever reason is the “integrity of our culture, our dignity and our sovereignty“. Stating that his country doesn’t intend to colonize anybody, the president warned that The Gambia also will not be colonized or enslaved twice.
Emphasising that every society has its own natural dos and don’ts, the Gambian leader averred that as a member of the international community, his government will abide by the international conventions that they have signed. “But as a country,” he added, “we will pass legislations that will preserve our cultures and humanity, our dignity, and our identity as one Africans, West Africans and Gambians.”
“We will preserve our Africaness and our religious belief to the letter and laws will be made to make sure that our cultural values are upheld to the letter. Sometimes you hear a lot of noise about my pronouncements. Let me make it very clear that if you want me to offend God for you to give me aid, you are making a great mistake. You will not bribe me to do what is evil and ungodly.”
To this end, President Jammeh revealed that his government will be giving legislations that a lot of people will be interested in- non-Gambians, thus reiterating that ungodly things will not be tolerated. “We lost our traditional head scarf for a necktie, but we will not lose our humanity for the so-called human rights.”
“There are certain things going on that are ungodly, evil, and a challenge to the Almighty Allah’s wisdom in creating a man and a woman. In Africa, in The Gambia, in West Africa in general, if you [a man] don’t want troubles, marry a woman and not a man. But if you want trouble and you are a man, have a man and see what is going to happen.
We are not going to accept that. After all, I have donkeys, I have zebras that look like donkeys; I put them together they have never met because they are different. I see no reasons why we human beings who are created by God cannot see the difference, it will not happen in this country. We will respect human rights where a human being behaves like a human being.
I have more than 5000 heads of cattle including bulls, the bulls fight when one bull climbs onto the other. You want to tell me that cattle and bull are more intelligent than the human beings? In your country a man can marry a man and marry a woman if you are a woman, but in The Gambia, we will not accept it.”
The Gambian leader concluded by asserting “you can call me any names, but we will not compromise our dignity, we will not insult our religion, and we will not insult God by doing something in the name of human rights”.
The Republic of The Gambia, commonly referred to as The Gambia, or Gambia /ˈɡæmbiə/, is a country in West Africa. Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
The country is situated around the Gambia River, the nation’s namesake, which flows through the country’s centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 11,295 km² with an estimated population of 1.7 million.
On 18 February 1965, Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom and joined the Commonwealth of Nations. Banjul is Gambia’s capital, but the largest conurbations are Serekunda and Brikama.
Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations in the slave trade, which was the key factor in the placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, Gambia has enjoyed relative political stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994.
Thanks to the fertile land of the country, the economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
- Gambian President says country won’t accept aid money tied to gay rights (voanews.com)
- Gambia president won’t take aid to accept homosexuality (rawstory.com)
- Gambian President Condemns Homosexuality As ‘Evil And Ungodly’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Senegal,s Macky Sall In Gambia (jamano.wordpress.com)
- Gambia – 3 more LGBT arrests bring total to 21 (76crimes.com)
- Police Raid Bar in Gambia, Arrest 15 ‘Suspected of Homosexuality’ (towleroad.com)
- 18 men, presumed to be gay, charged with indecency after Gambia dance for tourists (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Gambia delays trial of 20 jailed for ‘homosexual’ dance (76crimes.com)
- 18 men in Gambia face homosexuality charges (76crimes.com)
- Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh echoes in the African wilderness (sebaspace.wordpress.com)