Gambia might scrap its anti-gay law because homosexuality ‘does not exist in the country’

Gambia might scrap its anti-gay law because homosexuality ‘does not exist in the country’

Gambia is considering whether to repeal anti-gay legislation implemented by previous leader, Yahya Jammeh, the country’s foreign secretary has hinted. Ousainou Darboe was quoted by local media as saying homosexuality was an “imaginary issue” in the West African nation and Jammeh, now in exile, had allegedly implemented the law to persecute people.

“Homosexuality was perhaps something Jammeh imagined in order to bamboozle the clerics that were surrounding him… He used gay as a propaganda tool in order for him to continue to repress people,” Darboe said on Monday (15 May), according to SMBC News.

Ousainou Darboe, Gambia’s Foreign Secretary

Ousainou Darboe, Gambia’s Foreign Secretary

Homosexuals in Gambia faced up to 14 years in prison until 2014, when Jammeh signed a new law extending the term to life in jail. An amendment to the country’s Criminal Code introduced the new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for, among other categories, “repeat offenders” and suspected gays and lesbians living with HIV.

The move, criticised by rights groups and Western governments, prompted the EU to freeze aid to the country.

Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s Exiled Former Head of State

Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s Exiled Former Head of State

Darboe believes the law should be scrapped. “The aggravated homosexuality was a distraction and it should be taken out of the laws… You pass laws to deal with situations, not an imaginary problem,” he said and added that his party, the United Democratic Party, supports the repealing of the law.

Jammeh was known for being a staunch opponent of gay rights. The former head of state, who ruled Gambia for 22 years, compared homosexuals to “vermin” and claimed homosexuality is “anti-humanity.” He went into exile in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year, following the peaceful resolution of a post-election crisis. UDP member Adama Barrow won the presidential elections held in December last year, but Jammeh tried in vain to cling on to power after his defeat.

Adama Barrow, New President of Gambia

Adama Barrow, New President of Gambia

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  1. Delle
    May 18, 06:56 Reply

    Oh a country moving in the path of progression even if it’s salted with delusion.

    Still better than my country though.

    ““The aggravated homosexuality was a distraction and it should be taken out of the laws… ”

    Nothing could be truer.

    • Mandy
      May 18, 07:10 Reply

      Oh a country moving in the path of progression even if it’s salted with delusion.

      Lol. Wallai.
      I don’t know whether to cheer their government on to do the right thing or laugh at their willful stupidity. I don’t know the extent of determined ignorance that make governments declare that they don’t have gay people in their countries.

      • Delle
        May 18, 07:30 Reply

        I swear. But I’m looking past the obvious stupidity to the greater good.
        This is progress and it doesn’t matter how they get there.

        But really, no gay men in Gambia? ???
        *off to chat with Gambian facebook acquaintance-SSS*

      • Bryce
        May 18, 09:11 Reply

        It’s not willful ignorance,but politics and diplomacy.Something some of you guys need to learn about.

        They’re getting off the high horse they’d been on slowly,but surely.
        You turn an ocean liner around slowly and in degrees

        • Pink Panther
          May 18, 09:26 Reply

          Is that what Chechnya is doing though when they say they don’t have gay men? Politics and diplomacy?

          • Bryce
            May 18, 09:55 Reply

            We’re talking Gambia here and getting a stupid law off their books.

            Chechnya is a different ballgame altogether.
            They put that out to deny the state-sponsored crime they’re committing.

            • Pink Panther
              May 18, 09:59 Reply

              OK. I thought you offered that reason as a cover for all governments who deny the presence of gay people in their countries.

              But… I don’t see how its more diplomatic to deny their minorities simply to strike off a discriminatory law. As in, do they need a reason to make that decision?

              • Bryce
                May 18, 10:11 Reply

                Like working on the minds of those who’d been convinced by the previous admin that all the country’s problems, morally and otherwise,are traceable to gays?.
                Take the gays out of the picture a while,and they start reasoning the cause of their problems at the rightful source

                • Bryce
                  May 18, 10:16 Reply

                  Look at how that blockhead of Zamfara governor tried to attribute all the ills of his state on divine retribution for fornication and immorality in his state,whereas the real reason lies in his kleptomania and subsequent unpreparedness to give basic government service.
                  Now,take away fornication and immorality and the divine from the discuss,as Sanusi did and you’ll have people’s eyes opened and asking the right question

                  • Bryce
                    May 18, 10:20 Reply

                    It’s all mostly politics,a cover for their inadequacies, what some of these govt do.Reason why gays should learn to play too.
                    American GLBT well learned it and they’re playing.
                    The judge that first struck down proposition 18 in California is gay,and he helped usher in the relative freedom to marry they have today

  2. Mandy
    May 18, 07:12 Reply

    Yea, our former president also used an antigay propaganda as a distraction… A distraction that apparently didn’t get him what he wanted.

    • ambivalentone
      May 18, 09:02 Reply

      There seems to b a recurrent theme not so? *steadily eyes Trump, Chechenya and Mugabe* The day of the Lord cometh surely

      • ambivalentone
        May 18, 15:54 Reply

        Is this a sign? One correct psychoanalysis (Higwe) and now one correct prediction (Trump’s inherent impeachment). Should I be opening a shop to tell (guess??) ppl’s futures? Speak to me Lord!!!

        • Bryce
          May 18, 17:04 Reply

          He’s still far from impeachment yet.
          Don’t crow too soon.

  3. Francis
    May 18, 07:27 Reply

    Make una sha use any excuse and scrap the law. Welcome development.

  4. KryxxX
    May 18, 08:10 Reply

    Homosexuality does not exist in the Gambia? ? ? ?
    Such iberibe’ism! ? ? ? ? ?. But as long as the iberibe brings good, it is a welcomed form of iberibe! We pray it infects our government.

  5. Mitch
    May 18, 09:47 Reply

    Such delusion!

    Still, if it gets the freedom that gay people in Gambia need, I’m all for it.

  6. pankar
    May 18, 15:00 Reply

    Its mostly politics and diplomacy, in all case countries cited above. Reason may differ but it’s politics

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