Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president, rebuffed Obama, stating “We share so many values, our common love for democracy, entrepreneurship, value for families. But there are some things we must admit we don't share, our culture, our societies don't accept.”
“It’s very difficult to impose that on people that which they themselves do not accept. For Kenyans today the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue. We want to focus on other areas that are day-to-day living for people.” Obama was obviously displeased at the comment.
Needless to say, Kenya will not be lighting up their capitol building red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet any time soon.
The tense exchange came during an unusually-frank press conference in which Mr Obama raised concerns about endemic corruption holding back the economic growth of Kenya, where his father was born.
“People aren’t stupid,” he said, calling for “visible prosecutions” of senior officials involved who were seen buying expensive houses or cars that should not be affordable on their salaries.
He vowed further American help in tackling Islamic militant group al-Shabaab but warned of the risk of the “marginalisation” of the ethnic Somali community by the often heavy-handed tactics of Kenyan security forces seeking to dampen the threat.
Mr Obama also explained his failure to visit his ancestral home until now, six years into his presidency, saying he “didn’t want to play favourites” but admitting that International Criminal Court charges facing Mr Kenyatta over post-election violence in 2007 were of concern to the United States.