21 February 2014

Kenya: Gender Commission Nominees Quizzed On Gay, Lesbian Rights

President Uhuru Kenyatta's nominees to the Kenya National Gender and Equality Commission were hard pressed to make their stand known on the issue of gay rights when they appeared before a committee of the National Assembly yesterday.

Florence Wachira and Abdillahi Alawy found themselves in an unfamiliar territory when members of the Committee on Labour and Social Welfare asked them to explain their position on the issue that has seen Uganda on the verge of a diplomatic row with the US.

Kipipiri MP Samuel Gichigi started off the debate during Nyokabi's vetting.

He asked her to explain what she will do to advise Parliament on how deal with the challenges posed by the resurgence of gay rights as has been witnessed in many African countries.

Gichigi told Nyokabi that mankind faces extinction should lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have their way. Kabete MP George Muchai reaffirmed their position saying that "nature did not mean things to be the way LGBT wants them to be".

Nyokabi, who is the director in charge of recruitment at the Public Service Commission, described the issue as "difficult and complicated". She said most African cultures do not incorporate issues advanced by gay rights activists.

"My view is that homosexuality is neither natural nor normal. It's not indigenous. It's a borrowed culture. The new constitution allows people to express their rights, but these rights have responsibilities," Nyokabi said. She said the commission should help the government in monitoring the extent of the issue and what Kenyans think about it.

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