By Yero Bah
People’s Progressive Party leader Papa Njie has said a PPP government will “never promote homosexuality”.
Mr Njie has joined a chorus of political leaders who have publicly distanced themselves from calls by the EU Ambassador Lajos and the National Human Rights Commission for the right of gays to be protected.
Mr Njie told this paper at his Brufut Heights residence yesterday that it is rank hypocrisy that Westerners will not entertain talk of polygamy yet would want to impose homosexuality on countries like The Gambia.
Njie, a former employee of the US Embassy, said: “The issue of polygamy is a topic you can’t discuss in the West since nobody listens or takes you seriously. In the West, it is a non-starter. It is very funny, if you are in the west you talk about polygamy they will even think you are crazy but it is a human rights issue too.
“Even talking about this thing [gay rights] is not important; we are only giving it importance by discussing it. This thing [homosexuality] I don’t even want to mention. I understand that it is part of the mandate of the National Human Rights Commission to advise government on human rights issues but[homosexuality] contradicts the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia which says that marriage is between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is not a Gambian tradition or [sanctioned by] any of the religious teachings, so for me, it is not an issue for us.
“We have to change our relationship with the European Union. Even in England, the Queen doesn’t recognise LGBT rights but yet the European Union is pumping money in England. The moment we talk about it, we are giving it prominence. Gambians need to go back to the drawing board to redesign their productive sectors to develop the country but also reduce their dependency on Western powers.
“The European Union would not condition The Gambia that it must adhere to the values of homosexuality before it can get support from the bloc. They will not put such conditions against us, they will not.
“I understand that the European Union Ambassador has that responsibility to advise the Gambian government to include such values but it is also the duty of the president, his ministers and the Gambian masses together with the entire government system to implement it or not. Implementation is at the discretion of the Gambia government and her people,” Mr Njie explained.