Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye launched a virulent anti-gay tirade on Friday, saying same-sex couples should be publicly stoned.
However, homosexuality in Burundi, a conservative Christian country in East Africa, has been criminalized since 2009, with prison terms of up to two years for consensual same-sex acts.
Ndayishimiye, a Catholic, described marriage between same-sex couples as an “abominable practice.”.
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“Personally, I think if we see these kinds 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.
He also criticized Western countries that urge smaller nations to allow gay marriage or risk losing aid, saying, “Let them keep their help; let them keep it.”
Burundians living abroad who have “chosen the devil” and practice homosexuality should “not come back,” he added.
Homosexuality is illegal in many East African countries, which have a history of repression and stigmas against gay people, often encouraged by conservative Muslims and Christians.
The legislation is currently being challenged in Uganda’s constitutional court. Additionally, in March this year, Burundi charged 24 people with “homosexual practices” in a crackdown on same-sex relationships.
The move followed a call by Ndayishimiye for citizens to root out homosexuality and treat gay people as “pariahs.”.
In conclusion, 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.
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