Top Homophobic Countries in Africa

Fredrick Ngugi July 29, 2016
Binyavanga Wainaina, an internationally acclaimed author and a Kenyan gay rights activist. Photo (CTV News)

Many Africans hold strong objections to gay rights, and even in countries where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members have been accepted as a part of the society, governments are still reluctant to incorporate gay rights into law, exposing homosexuals to stigma, discrimination, and attacks. Consequently, the following list is the top homophobic countries in Africa.


Nigeria is known for homophobic discrimination, with numerous cases of torture and attacks on homosexuals. The country’s police department has also publicly declared that it’s on the hunt for members of the LGBT community. Some statistics even show that close to 98 percent of the Nigerian population is against homosexuality. The Nigerian constitution criminalizes same-sex marriage, and gay couples risk going to jail for up to 14 years.


Over the last few years, Uganda has been on the news for its anti-LGBT policies. In 2013, the Ugandan parliament passed an anti-gay law, which criminalized homosexuality and called for life imprisonment of members of the LGBT community. The passage of this law triggered nationwide attacks on gay people and gay rights activists, with some even paying the ultimate price: death. Even today, homosexuals are not welcome in many parts of Uganda. What’s more, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has, on numerous occasions, publicly condemned homosexuality, calling it “disgusting.”


Zimbabwe remains one of the most-homophobic countries in Africa, with President Robert Mugabe even calling members of the LGBT community “filth” and promising to behead them. “It degrades human dignity. It’s unnatural, and there is no question ever of allowing these people to behave worse than dogs and pigs. If dogs and pigs do not do it, why must human beings?” Mugabe once said. In 2006, Zimbabwe passed a law criminalizing “any actions perceived as homosexual.” It is even illegal for two people of the same sex to hold hands, hug, or kiss.


A 2013 survey done by the PEW Research Center showed that about 96 percent of the Senegalese population is opposed to homosexuality. To this day, members of the LGBT community in Senegal continue to be subjected to attacks, discrimination, and prosecutions. Article 319 in the Senegalese Penal Code states that whoever will have committed an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of between one and five years and by a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 francs.


In Sudan, homosexuality is punishable by death. The constitution stipulates that where someone is convicted for a homosexual offense for the third time, he shall be punished with death or with life imprisonment. Some LGBT offenders in Sudan are subjected to whipping, with some getting up to forty lashes.


While there is no law that criminalizes homosexuality in Niger, the constitution does not provide any legal protection to members of the LGBT community. This has left homosexuals at the mercy of a homophobic society. According to the U.S. Department of State, there are no known organizations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons in Niger, and homosexuals are still being subjected to societal discrimination.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: July 28, 2016


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