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Gay? No Home in Africa!

Seemingly, gays and lesbians have no place on the African soil. Recently, the police disrupted the first ever planned gay wedding in the Muslim-dominated Mtwapa town in Coast province in Kenya. This happened following an angry protest from the Muslim and the Christian community in the area, in what they dubbed as 'operation gay out', terming it immoral and unacceptable.

Under the Kenyan marriage laws, a marriage is defined as a union between two parties of opposite sex. This means that only heterosexual relationships are legal and so homosexuals are 'criminals'. The harmonized draft constitution carried a clause that said that every Kenyan adult had a right to have a family. However, this clause was scrapped off by the Parliamentary select committee on constitution review after debate ensued that the clause might as well be seeking to legalize homosexual unions. The proposed marriage bill 2007 was also criticized by many because the bill did not give any way forward to homosexuality.

So as far as Kenya is concerned, it is a criminal offense to practice to practice homosexuality and if found, one is can be put behind bars for not less than 14 years according to the country's penal code. When two Kenyan males, Mr. Charles Ngengi (40) and Daniel Chege (39), tied a knot last year in the UK under the country's Civil Partnership Act, it elicited hot public debate, with some terming the couple crazy. This raises some of the mysteries surrounding same-sex relationships not only in Kenya but Africa as a whole.

In Uganda for instance,a bill proposing a death penalty for all gay brothers have been put before parliament awaiting debate. All eyes are now on the parliamentarians to debate and come up with the best vote on this controversial bill. But if only Africans could learn to accommodate the rights of others and to appreciate diversity in humankind...


jadefrank's picture

gays in Africa

Hi Joanne,

Thank you for speaking out on this issue. I love this last line of your journal, "if only Africans could learn to accommodate the rights of others and to appreciate diversity in humankind..." I think this is true of the whole world.

When war, rape, abuse and murder is going on every day, it's a wonder that people point their fingers at people who are different than them and even put them behind based on their sexual preference, rather than what's inside their hearts and minds.

I love reading your journals Joanne! Keep writing.


Rita Banerji's picture


We have the same problem in India --- and actually for the same reason. Both Kenya and India had the laws dumped on them by Victorian British Colonists! But Britain -- is trying to move on -- and we are still stuck with the archaic laws because our minds have not moved with the times!

Rita Banerji

ArtByMia's picture

Gays in Africa

Thank you for sharing this story. Unfortunately this is happening all around the world. If only we can accept and let live this world would be a whole better place for all of us. When it comes to religion and politics there seems to be an unending debate of what is right and what is wrong. Some things as this and racial issues will probably never go away, but with the voices that advocate and bring awareness such as your we can educate and hope for an ending one day.

Thank you for your posting, Mia

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