The prime minister of Kenya claims he never said that gays and lesbians should be arrested.

Raila Odinga was recorded discussing homosexuality at a rally last Sunday.

He is said to have remarked: “If a man is caught having sex with the other we jail them, or if a girl is caught with the other … we will jail them”.

“We want a country that is clean, a clean way of doing thing has clean mannerisms … we do not want things to do with sodomy,” he added.

However, he said today that although homosexuality remains illegal in Kenya, he had not ordered the arrest of gays and lesbians.

Mr Odinga said: “It was said that I ordered the arrest of gay people but nothing could be further from the truth. I did not say that. I was just explaining the propaganda used by people who were campaigning against the new constitution.”

“I understand there are gay rights,” he added, according to Capital News.

Earlier this week, his spokesman, Dennis Onyango, said that the prime minister had been trying to say that groups opposed to Kenya’s new Constitution had claimed it would legalise gay marriage in order to get people to vote against it.

Kenyan gays and lesbians held a silent protest this week to call for Mr Odinga to retract his remarks.

One LGBT group, Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, said it had received frightened phone calls from gay and HIV-positive people who feared they could be taken into custody when collecting their HIV medication.