But Mr Darboe said there was no reason for the debate on homosexuality in The Gambia to be given the prominence it has been accorded. “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?” Mr Darboe argued.
The lawyer-cum-politician told The Standard, that he personally does not know any Gambian who is gay and has never seen one. “I am not saying there are no homosexuals in The Gambia but we will first have to identify who the homosexuals are in the country. 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.
He went on: “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.”
Asked whether he would prosecute gays were he to be president of The Gambia, Mr Darboe stated: “If there is law on it, yes. But the proof will certainly become a problem. If somebody acknowledges being homosexual, and there are laws prohibiting it, then we will prosecute it. This reminds me of the 1960s when there was a big debate in the House of Lords in the UK. Some held the view that when two consenting adults engage in such a relationship, what is the business of the law in it? But there are others who said that protecting the morals of the society was the responsibility of the judges. And I sided with those judges who believe it is the responsibility of the judges to protect the morality of society. But to go the extent of killing them, I will not do that.”
Author: Sanna Camara]]>