Respect our culture, Ruto tells US leader

PHOTO | JOSH EDELSON Rainbow flags line the courtyard at San Francisco's City Hall building on June 26, 2012. The US Supreme Court struck down The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and declared that same-sex couples who are legally married deserve equal rights to the benefits under federal law that go to all other married couples.

Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday urged US leader Barack Obama to respect Kenyans’ culture, saying they would not abandon their traditions that condemn same-sex marriages.

The Deputy President said Kenya was ready to work with other “sovereign and God-fearing” nations, adding that the government would continue to foster these relations.

“No one should have any worry about Kenya’s stand as a God-fearing nation. President Obama is a powerful man but we trust in God as it is written in the Bible that cursed is the man who puts trust in another man.

“America has made tremendous contribution to Kenya’s well-being and we are very grateful and as a government we are ready to receive any help from America that will improve the lives of our people,” he said at St Gabriel’s Catholic Church at Maili Kumi in Bahati constituency.

Kenya’s sovereignty

Mr Ruto urged foreign governments to respect Kenya’s sovereignty. “But for these other things we hear it is none of our business as it goes against our customs and traditions,” he said, referring to President Obama’s call for African countries to respect the rights of gay people.

At the same time, Mr Ruto said President Uhuru Kenyatta had launched initiatives to hasten unity among East African states, which would see Kenya’s economy grow and cohesion among people in the region strengthened.

The Deputy President said the Jubilee government was committed to making devolution work as it had released funds to all counties.

“We shall soon hold a special meeting with all governors where we will seek ways and means to make devolution come true,” Mr Ruto said.