Kenyan anti-gay MP Irungu Kangata
The Kenyan parliament has demanded that the government explain why gays and lesbians are not being prosecuted under the country’s existing anti-gay laws.
MP Irungu Kangata, who has been actively campaigning against LGBT rights, demanded that the Director of Public Prosecutions and the State explain what measures have been taken to enforce these laws.
Kangata has claimed that gays and lesbians are being allowed to “operate with impunity in Kenya,” as the Capital News website put it.
“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 said.
According to Capital News, Aden Duale, the leader of the Majority Coalition in the National Assembly, was given one and half months to deliver a comprehensive response to the House on the issue.
Duale, however, said that he may need much more time. “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. 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,” he said.
Capital News noted that “the issue has gained prominence after Uganda enacted tough laws against gays.”
According to Denis Nzioka, Deputy Director of Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), the move may be a precursor to a Uganda-style anti-gay bill being introduced in Kenya’s parliament.
Writing on his blog, Nzioka said that “sources within the Parliament of Kenya have indicated that a draft bill prohibiting same sex relationships and acts is ‘looming.’”
He explained that “legislators are reported to have formed an anti-homosexuality caucus in Parliament to push for the enactment of new (subsidiary) legislation against same sex persons in Kenya.”
Nzioka also reported that during the month of February, members of anti-gay lobby group Maendeleo ya Wanaume met “to strategise on how to conduct ‘raids’ in offices of LGBTI and sex work organisations accompanied by the media.”
He added that “the lobby group intends to ‘mobilise youth, raid gay offices and arrest youths engaging in gayism and lesbianism and hand them to the police.’ They intend to make a fiasco by inviting media and journalists during these ‘raids.’”
Same-sex consensual sex among adults is illegal in Kenya, with penalties of between five to 14 years imprisonment. Under the 2010 Kenyan constitution, the criminalisation of homosexuality may be unconstitutional, but this has not yet been challenged in court.
A global survey released last year found that 90% of Kenyans believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society.