The Star (Nairobi)

12 August 2014

Kenya: New Bill Wants Gays Stoned in Public

Photo: Premium Times
New Kenyan Bill seeks to publicly stone to death homosexuals (file photo).

A bill seeking to have foreign gay people stoned to death in public in Kenya is now before the National Assembly through a petition by a political party.

The draft bill has proposed that a foreigner who commits a homosexual act be stoned in public, while Kenyan nationals found guilty will be jailed for life.

The draft bill, presented alongside a petition by the party's legal secretary, Edward Onwong'a Nyakeriga, is seeking to criminalise sodomy, with offenders earning life imprisonment.

"There is need to protect children and youth who are vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technology, parentless-child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care or otherwise," Nyakeriga says in his petition.

The bill by the Republican Liberty Party prohibits all forms of sexual relations between people of the same sex. Last week, Speaker Justin Muturi forwarded the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to the Justice and Legal Affairs committee, which will consider it and report back to the House.

The bill also introduces "Aggravated homosexuality", which includes committing such acts with a minor or where the offender is HIV-positive. This, the Bill proposes, should be punished through stoning to death in public.

Parliament already has a caucus against the gay lifestyle and in February MPs announced that they would seek measures to deal with it. The parliamentary anti-gay caucus consists of, among others, MPs Irungu Kang'ata (Kiharu), Julius Ndegwa (Lamu West), John Njoroge (Kasarani), Clement Wambugu (Mathioya) and Stephen Kinyanjui (Kinangop).

Last week, a Ugandan court rejected a not-dissimilar law passed in December last year by that country's legislators. The court ruled that Parliament had not met the quorum requirement when passing the law.

The law was condemned locally and internationally, with the US threatening Uganda with sanctions over its enactment. The Republican Liberty Party argues that homosexuality is unnatural and must be legislated against.

"The petition aims at providing comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the cherished culture of the people of Kenya, legal, religious and traditional family values against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Kenya," the petition reads.

The bill is likely to face immense opposition from civil society, with some organisations having already openly supported the gay culture and lifestyle.

Famous Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina has been among the few people who have gathered the courage to come out and declare that they are gay.

The Kenyan gay and lesbian community has in the past said that it wants Parliament to repeal all anti-homosexuality laws as they infringe on their fundamental rights.

Religious leaders, on the other hand, have come out to oppose any attempt to legalise homosexuality and lesbianism in this country. Clerics have termed the practices an "unnatural crime" that must not be allowed in this country.

While the constitution outlaws the union of persons of the same sex, it does not explicitly make homosexuality a crime. In July, a poll by Ipsos Synovate found that 64 per cent of Kenyans believe homosexuality is an unnatural act and is learned in the growing-up process.

According to the study, only 14 per cent of Kenyans surveyed in the poll believe that being gay is natural and some people are indeed born this way.

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InFocus

New Kenyan Bill Seeks Stoning of Gays

New Kenyan Bill seeks to publicly stone to death homosexuals (file photo).

A new bill, tabled at parliament, proposes that any foreigner caught committing acts of homosexuality be stoned to death, while Kenyans will be jailed for life. Read more »