John M. Becker

Homophobia on the Rise in Kenya

Filed By John M. Becker | March 12, 2014 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Aden Duale, Africa, anti-gay laws, east Africa, Irungu Kangata, Kenya, sodomy ban, sodomy law

kenya-rainbow-outline.pngThree members of parliament in the east African nation of Kenya are demanding to know why the government isn't enforcing an 84-year-old, colonial-era law that punishes consensual sex between men with up to 14 years' imprisonment. The leader of the National Assembly's majority coalition, MP Aden Duale, has been tasked with reviewing the situation and reporting his findings to the full House.

All Africa reports:

Duale said he would need more than one month to investigate and file a report in the House, terming it a controversial issue.

"I need to make trips both to the neighbouring countries and to more developed nations, because I need to consult across the borders how this thing can be handled," stated the Majority Leader. "Mr Speaker you will indulge me if by one and half months I will not have an answer then you will give two or three years."

[Kiharu MP Irungu] Kangata said that in spite of the existence of prohibitions on homosexual behaviour, gays have had leverage to operate with impunity in Kenya as the State appears helpless in cracking down on what they insist are illegalities.

He cited the provisions of Section 162 of the Penal Code, which prohibits same-sex relations and provides a jail term of not less than 14 years for those convicted of the felony.

"The Majority Leader should report to and inquire into; reasons for the non-enforcement of anti-gays laws, whether there are any organisations that are championing violation of the aforementioned law and if they are registered, what steps are being taken by the government to de-register or curtail such organisations' activities," Kangata demanded.

But a report from Gay Star News claims that Kangata isn't waiting for Duale's investigation to run its course. Instead, he and a group of like-minded politicians are allegedly plotting to sway public opinion against the country's LGBT community by coercing teens into carrying out anti-gay attacks.

Details, after the jump.

From Gay Star News:

Kenya politicians are allegedly planning on bribing teens to attack gay people in return for businesses and homes...

A group of politicians led by MP Irungu Kang'ata have recently been demanding anti-gay laws in the African country to be stricter and enforced.

Denis Nzioka, Kenya gay rights activist, claims he has sources who have allegedly attended one of Kang'ata's 'strategy meetings'. The politicians allegedly plan to 'mobilize youth, raid gay offices and arrest youths engaging in gayism and lesbianism and hand them to the police.'

In return, the sources claim the youths will be promised businesses opened for them and their houses paid for. They will also be given security if they attack gay offices and high profile individuals.

One organizer is quoted as saying: 'We have a group of pastors and a politician who have promised to give you whatever is needed to carry out these anti-gay actions.' Other suggestions involved paying 'ex-gays' to 'recruit' more LGBTI people to go public against homosexuality and 'expose secrets of the homosexual community and lifestyle'.

GSN has been unable to independently verify Nzioka's report. But if it's true, it's obviously very troubling, especially since Kenya is one of Africa's bellwether states, the anchor of stability in east Africa, and the major regional power in that part of the continent.

Let's hope Kenya chooses to reject state-sponsored homophobia instead of following in the footsteps of nations like Uganda, Nigeria, and Cameroon.

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