The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: We Won't Lose Sleep Over Obama Snub - Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto said US President Barack Obama's decision to snub Kenya will not cause the Kenyan leadership sleepless nights.

Ruto said Kenya has many other friends worldwide with whom they will continue to cooperate with. He said the Jubilee alliance will remain committed to deliverings its election promises to Kenyans with or without the support of the US.

Ruto at the same time hit out at Obama over his push for recognition of gay rights by African governments and said Kenya will not accept it.

During the opening leg of his three-nation visit to Africa, Obama had past Thursday commended the US Supreme Court's decision for allowing same-sex marriages saying it was a "victory for American democracy. Obama had urged African countries where homosexuality is considered a crime to make sure that there was no discrimination against gays.

"We respect the US but let them also respect Kenyans," said Ruto after attending mass at St. Gabriel Catholic Church Bahati, Nakuru County.

He said Kenya was 'a God fearing nation' and would not accept "alien mannerisms" that were in conflict with Christianity and African practices and traditions."

"We are a God fearing nation and will not cooperate with those who believe otherwise," he added. Obama is expected to be in Tanzania today after visiting Snegal and South Africa. He said he would not visit Kenya as it was not 'an appropriate time' for such a visit due to the crimes against humanity charges facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto at the International Criminal Court.

Ruto's case is scheduled to start on September 10 while Uhuru's will commence on November 12. Obama, who is scheduled to end his visit to Tanzania on Wednesday told a town-hall meeting in Soweto that he would visit Kenya at the end of his term as president.

Yesterday, Ruto said Obama was well within his rights to choose not to visit Kenya at this time. He said the snub would not affect Kenya's bilateral relations with America.

Ruto yesterday said the Jubilee government was keen on deepening trade and economic ties with other friendly countries and cited the recent visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta to Uganda where he held a tripartite meeting with Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. "The President will be proceeding to Burundi this week on a similar mission," he said.

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