Deputy President of Kenya, William Ruto, preached to worshippers at a church in Nairobi that homosexuals had no place in the east African nation, according to to reports from the country on Monday.
Ruto's statement at a church service on Sunday came a week after Kenya’s High Court allowed members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to form NGOs and officially register their organisations.
Homosexuality is illegal in many countries in Africa including Kenya. However top leaders in the country such as the president and deputy president generally stay away from debates over the issue.
“We will not allow homosexuality in our society as it violates our religious and cultural beliefs,” Ruto said at a church meeting in Nairobi.
“We will stand with religious leaders to defend our faith and our beliefs,” he added.
“There’s no room for homosexuality in this country. That one I can assure you.”
After Ruto’s comments on homosexuals, he was targeted by social media users in Kenya.
Binyavanga Wainaina, a prominent Kenyan writer who last year came out as gay, took the lead to attack Ruto on social media, calling thousands to join him.
“Our Deputy President Ruto is building himself to be the most dangerous man in Africa. If his strategy works much will burn,” Wainaina told his followers on Twitter.
Ruto’s comments came on the day US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kenya promising to push for human rights, alongside discussions on security and terrorism.
Ruto - who is on trial at the International Criminal in The Hague, accused of crimes against humanity - said “his stance was about morality not politics.”
“When we say this, we are not saying so as to get votes but to protect what we all believe is right,” he said, according to The Star newspaper.
Last week, Kenyan High Court in Nairobi has ordered a government agency to register a human rights group that represents Kenyan gays and lesbians to defend their rights.
The court ruled that the constitution allowed recognition and protection of the rights of “every person,” including minority groups such as gays and lesbians.