An African President has called for gay people to be stoned to death in stadiums. Evariste Ndayishimiye, the president of Burundi, a small landlocked nation in the east of the continent, called gays a “curse” and said, “If we find them in Burundi, it is better to lead them to a stadium and stone them.”
Homosexuality was criminalized in the country in 2009 and carries a jail term of two years. Ndayishimiye’s remarks came just months after Uganda enacted laws against homosexuals that attracted global condemnation, including from both Republicans and Democrats in the US.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), passed in May by President Yoweri Museveni, applies the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and ten years in prison for homosexual contact.
Five Republicans wrote to President Museveni at the time to oppose the legislation, saying it violated the Christian belief in the “inherent dignity and worth of all men and women.” Evangelical pastor Rick Warren backed the GOP lawmakers and called the law “unjust, extreme, and un-Christian.”
In 2023, six African nations tightened laws against homosexuality, and it remains illegal in 33 of the continent’s 55 countries. One of the few exceptions is South Africa, where gays are protected from discrimination by law, primarily due to the influence of Nelson Mandela, who supported LGBT rights.
Last March, Vice President Kamala Harris visited three African countries and called for “all people to be treated equally,” prompting criticism from leaders. In Ghana, Speaker Alban Bagbin called Harris’s remarks “undemocratic” and told lawmakers they should not be “intimidated” by her rhetoric. In Tanzania, a former minister called for protests against the Vice President.
Homosexuality is currently illegal in 64 countries, almost all in Africa or with a Muslim majority. It carries the death penalty in Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. In other countries, gays face the prospect of hefty or life-long prison terms.