Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye has launched a virulent anti-gay tirade saying that gay people in his country should be stoned.
This is adding to the anti-gay sentiments sweeping across the region and the wider African continent.
He similarly railed at Western countries which continually press other nations to allow gay rights or risk losing aid. He urged them to keep their assistance, in his words “Let them keep their help, let them keep it.”
Homosexuality in Burundi, a conservative Christian country in East Africa, has been criminalised since 2009 with prison terms of up to two years for consensual same-sex acts.
“Personally, I think if we see these kind of individuals in Burundi we should put them in a stadium and stone them. And it would not be a sin for those who do,” Ndayishimiye said in response to a question at a public event in the east of the country that was broadcast by Burundian media.
Burundians living abroad who have “chosen the devil” and practise homosexuality should “not come back”, he added.
The anti-gay sentiments have recently been amplified in parts of the continent following Pope Francis’ edict two weeks ago allowing priests to bless same couple.
Burundi in 2009 banned consensual gay intimacy in a law that was signed by the president at the time, Pierre Nkurunziza an autocratic leader who for years derided gay people.
Mr. Ndayishimiye, a retired general, came in power in 2022 after an election marred by the arrest and torture of opposition activists, according to rights groups.
Ndayishimiye took power in June 2020 after the death of president Pierre Nkurunziza and has been lauded by the international community for slowly ending years of Burundi’s isolation under his predecessor’s chaotic and bloody rule.
He however has failed to improve a wretched human rights record and the country of 12 million people remains one of the poorest on the planet.