By Sanna Camara
Ousainou Darboe, leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has said that although he does not rule out the presence of gays, lesbians or bisexuals in the country, but he “do not know who and who homosexuals in The Gambia are”.
Speaking in a Bantaba exclusive with The Standard, the UDP leader said “I am not saying there are no homosexuals but… we will first have to identify who the homosexuals are” in the country”. He was although quick to point out that he sees the practice as an “abominable” act that has no place in Gambian culture.
“How many people in this country have been identified to be engaged in that relationship – whether as lesbians or homosexuals? Those have to be identified. How many people have contracted these types of marriages in this country? How many of them have done so? And how many have openly acknowledged themselves as being gay in this country? I personally abhor it as a Muslim and as a decent Mandinka because it is not part of my culture. It is abominable but it cannot be the priority of this country,” said Mr Darboe.
Is it the priority of this country?
He went on: “But then, what is the magnitude of homosexuals in this country to warrant it to be put on that very high pedestal? As if that is the priority of this country? We have to address our priorities. We do not have to divert our problems, the real problems of the country… On every occasion, you have a pronouncement on gay people, when you have problems of electricity, poverty… how many children do you have around supermarkets, loitering and begging? Should we not be thinking of how to get these beggars from the streets and make them live a decent life? Shouldn’t we be thinking of how we get efficient electricity supply in this country?
“Some years ago, about 1996 or 1997, when the president was laying the foundation stone of Brikama Power Station; he said “power shortages will be a thing of the past”. That is just about fifteen years ago and it is getting worse. I think we should really be serious and address issues that are really confronting the nation than these side issues, just because you want to capture the attention of the “Muslims” or the religious community,” hammered Darboe.
Darboe emphasized that he believes acts of gays and lesbians “is very abominable. It has no place in this country. People who are engaged in it must certainly desist. I believe that it is part of those tendencies in human beings that require some treatment…”