|Apinda Mpako, Pan Africa ILGA|
|Apinda Mpako, Pan Africa ILGA|
President Barack Obama has appointed Robert F Godec, a counter-terrorism official as the acting US ambassador to Kenya amidst leaked reports that his administrartion is "attempting to impose" on the "peoples of Africa… legalized abortion and the homosexual rights agenda."
Godec who has been serving as the principal deputy coordinator in the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the State Department, replaces Stephen Nola who has been holding office since the beginning of this month.
The replacement comes after the former Ambassador, Scott Gration resigned over a scathing audit on his administration.
There was also interest since Gration’s resignation came a few days after the US Embassy in Kenya celebrated the first ever LGBT Pride. Numerous media outlets blamed the event as the reason for his resignation citing his Christian faith was at odds with what was termed as America’s liberal leanings.
As published in Think Progress, the leaked documents, from the Republican National Convention (GOP), ‘contained a rather peculiar criticism of President Obama’s policy in the area’ citing,
‘The effectiveness of our foreign aid has been limited by the cultural agenda of the current Administration, attempting to impose on foreign countries, especially the peoples of Africa, legalized abortion and the homosexual rights agenda. At the same time, faith-based groups — the sector that has had the best track record in promoting lasting development — have been excluded from grants because they will not conform to the administration’s social agenda. We will reverse this tragic course, encourage more involvement by the most effective aid organizations, and trust developing peoples to build their future from the ground up.’
'And while it’s true that the Obama campaign has worked to protect gay rights internationally, foreign aid dollars aren’t going to marriage equality campaigns — U.S. money is being used to finance legal and journalistic efforts to protect LGBT Africans from being murdered or jailed for their sexual orientation,' it adds.
Obama, according to Think Progress, has made this clear in an official memo on the topic.
‘I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation…Agencies engaged abroad are directed to strengthen existing efforts to effectively combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct and to expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct.’
The criticism of the Administration for imposing “legalized abortion” on African populations has been termed as ‘off-base’, as foreign aid has not been used to pressure any country into legalizing abortion, says Think Progress.
The debate on the so called ‘imposition of a homosexual agenda’ by the Obama administarion, elicited debate as reports from Kenya say that there are Christian groups with ties to evangelical Christian groups and politicians, are bent on reversing what they term as a 'gay agenda' by Obama.
In the article published, it says ‘The language in this draft of the GOP platform protests the Obama administration's efforts against laws that would levy criminal sanctions, including death, on people simply because of their sexual orientation.
In an interview with Identity Kenya Magazine, former Consular to Mombasa and LGBT Liaison at the US Embassy in Kenya, Keith Gilges, said that the US considers gay rights as part of its foreign policy and will look into ways of spotlighting injustices committed against LGBT persons. He said gay rights were tied to human rights as a condition for aid consideration.
A more recent case of a US ambassador urging debate on the issue was the outgoing US ambassador to Ghana, Donald Teitelbaum, who aid the country could follow his country’s example of open dialogue on gay rights.
Teitelbaum addressed homophobic behaviour stating: ‘You have this incident of gay bashing of homosexuals or this business they talk about corrective rape where people rape women because they are lesbians.
‘I think we need to say that it is not ok. It is not ok to oppress people because of the life they choose to live.’
Godec, who served at the US embassy in Nairobi in the late 1990s, is expected to lead American interests in the region.