Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia, used his annual Christmas message to renew his attacks against homosexuality calling it an ‘evil and strange social cancer’.
He encouraged Gambians to reflect on the ‘pristine values’ and teachings of Christianity at this time of year, having previously warned the UN General Assembly that gay people are a threat to human existence.
The president said homosexuality will ‘never be condoned’ and warned parents to steer children away from ‘alien cultures that could corrupt their minds at this stage of their moral and psychological development’.
His commitment to delivering improved education, infrastructure and other social services to ‘Gambians in every part of the country regardless of tribal, religious or political affiliation’ did not extend to those of different sexual orientations.
Jammeh’s attack on Gambia’s LGBTI population comes as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is under pressure to sign an anti-homosexuality bill which threatens life imprisonment to citizens caught repeatedly engaging in homosexual acts.
Gambia has a poor track record on gay rights, with homosexuality still considered a felony carrying up to 14 years imprisonment for those found guilty.
President Jammeh has previously stated his intent to introduce legislation that would allow the beheading of LGBTI citizens, and shocked scientists in 2007 when he claimed to have found a cure for HIV/AIDS which was actually just herbs and bananas.
In his United Nations address in September, Jammeh drew worldwide criticism when he claimed homosexuality is ‘more deadly than all natural disasters put together’.
His Christmas message also called for Gambians to renew their allegiance to their country and to demonstrate their patriotism and sense of national pride by working harder to achieve national goals.