The president of Burundi condemned the West for pressuring the continent to embrace LGBTQ practices
Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye called for same-sex couples to be publicly stoned during a press conference on Friday, suggesting the general population could help carry out the punishment.
“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 told reporters, condemning marriage between same-sex individuals as an “abominable practice.”
The African leader also lambasted powerful Western nations for threatening smaller countries with financial penalties if they refuse to adopt pro-LGBTQ values. “Let them keep their help, let them keep it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Burundians living outside the country who have “chosen the devil” – i.e. become practicing homosexuals – should “not come back,” he said.
Homosexuality has been illegal in Burundi since 2009 and is punishable by a prison term of up to two years for consensual same-sex activity, though there is no law on the books imposing the death penalty for it. Burundi charged 24 people with “homosexual practices” in March following an announced crackdown on same-sex relationships, with Ndayishimiye calling on the population to treat the homosexuals in their midst as “pariahs.”
Over 30 African states have anti-LGBTQ laws on the books, much to the chagrin of the West, which has attempted to use its considerable financial leverage to push back against legislation that is primarily motivated by conservative religious beliefs.
When Pope Francis declared the Roman Catholic Church could bless same-sex couples earlier this month, Catholic leaders in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana publicly issued statements countering his directive, arguing that gay marriage violates church law and African tradition.
After Uganda adopted anti-gay legislation that imposed the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” – acts including having sex with a minor or while HIV-positive – in May, the World Bank cut the country off from new funding, a move that could result in the loss of billions in aid dollars. The US imposed a travel ban on Ugandan officials and removed the nation from a trade deal.
Ghana, which voted to adopt legislation that would punish LGBTQ advocacy with prison time earlier this year, has vowed to retaliate against US economic interests if its own law is met with a similar response from Washington.
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