Capital FM (Nairobi)

14 February 2013

Kenya: Abortion, Gay Marriages Top Deputy Presidential Debate

The issues of the abortion, same sex marriage and reproductive health took centre stage during the first ever deputy presidential debate to held in Kenya.

During the debate which was organized by religious institutions, running mates of various formations seemed to take hard-line stands against the issues while others called for a more liberal approach.

CORD's Kalonzo Musyoka, Jubilee's William Ruto and UDF's Jeremiah Kioni were adamant that their parties believe in family values and that talk about homosexuality and illegal abortion would not be tolerated.

"I personally hold the view that life begins at conception. I also believe in every individual's right to life and therefore I clearly indicate my position that I am opposed to abortion," stated VP Musyoka.

"Abortion is unconstitutional and it should remain as such. There should not be any grey area when it comes to the killing of anybody whether it is the killing of the mother or the child," said Ruto.

The two agreed that their coalitions were objecting to the issue of same sex relationship because it had posed serious moral issues especially in a God fearing country like Kenya. They added that there is no religion that talks about homosexuality.

On his part, Kioni explained that he believes abortion is illegal.

"Think of the pain the unborn child goes through as abortion is being procured because nobody has been able to prove to us that, that it is not alive" said the UDF running mate.

However, it was Restore and Build Kenya party's Winnie Kaburu and Joshua Onono of the Alliance for Real Change who came out strongly against abortion, use of contraceptives and same sex marriages with Kaburu equating abortion to murder while Onono quoted the Bible stating that "God abhors homosexuality."

"Abortion is misuse of a woman's body. When that life is in her, removing it is murder, murder! murder!" Kaburu declared.

On the issue of reproductive health, Kaburu minced no words by stating: "Nobody should be telling somebody about family planning. It should be between a family. In Kenya, we shouldn't be talking about gay marriage, abortion. It should be a No."

Eagle Alliance's Ronnie Osumba faulted Kenyans for taking the high moral ground and suggested they should address the dangers posed by the new societal challenges.

Osumba added those who practice same sex marriage should be embraced instead of being judged.

"My concern is who makes the call on when abortion becomes necessary. I believe strongly that life begins at conception and we must uphold it as such but we still need to address the very tough question around who make the call when abortion becomes necessary particularly when protecting the life of the mother or the unborn child."

"Biblically, sex is made for procreation but we cannot run away from the fact that same sex relationship have become rampant in our country it is an issue that needs to be addressed it is an issue that continues to permeate. Christians can't turn a blind eye."

The Jubilee Alliance's deputy president candidate William Ruto said both he and Uhuru Kenyatta will make public their wealth.

Speaking during the debate organised by the religious institutions, Ruto was however not clear when he will go public, only saying that he will declare his wealth "when we come to that point," after he was challenged by debate moderator Catherine Achienga.

"We believe that any public official who gets into office must make their wealth declaration and they must be public so that people can see and audit because we believe in direct public audit as the most efficient and effective way of getting things done."

Ruto said the Jubilee Alliance had realised corruption thrived due to nepotism, secrecy in awarding security sector contracts and when incompetent people get into office.

"A Jubilee government will make every job competitive so that we get the men and women who deserve the positions that they will get."

"We believe that corruption thrives in secrecy and therefore (and we have put it in our manifesto) every tender including tenders of huge security purchases like those of the army, those of the navy which cost billion of shillings will be subject to a competitive process supervised by Parliament. That is when we can stop the Anglo-leasing and the other grand corruption scandals this country has seen."

CORD's Kalonzo Musyoka said his 28 years in public life will enable him point loopholes where graft is perpetuated.

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