By Melanie Nathan, August 11, 2014.
The Kenyan Republican Liberty Party has proposed Anti-Homosexuality legislation to stone gays to death in public or to punish with life in prison. A draft Bill has been sent to the National Assembly. All a great irony since so many Ugandans fled to Kenya, seeking refuge with UNHCR after President Museveni signed the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act, which has now been struck down by Uganda’s Constitutional Court on a parliamentary procedural technicality, and the subject of an appeal.
In addition to all else that makes this Bill so insidious is that stoning is proposed for foreigners and life imprison proposed for local Kenyans. So if for example a Ugandan living in Kenya is guilty under this proposed new law, he is likely to face death, far worse than the consequences of the country he just escaped.
Some Ugandan refugees are currently living in UNHCR camps and others have moved to towns, where for some the only means of survival is through sex work.
The draft Bill presented alongside a petition by the party’s legal secretary Edward Onwong’a Nyakeriga provides for the offence of sodomy which would earn life imprisonment.
They propose death by stoning in public for any foreigner who commits a homosexual act and a life imprisonment for Kenyan nationals found guilty.
Anyone found guilty of aggravated homosexuality would also be stoned to death in public.
Aggravated homosexuality in this case would include committing the acts with people below 18 years, if the offender is a person living with HIV, if those persons committing the act are persons in authority over their victims, serial offenders and where a victim is a person with a disability.
The petitioner states that the Bill aims at strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family.
“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,” the petitioner states.
The latest move could be part of the push for anti-gay law started by the parliamentary caucus against gay practices in Kenya.
A group of MPs formed the caucus in February and declared an uncompromising onslaught on homosexuality in Kenya. The MPs said they would, through the caucus, rally their colleagues in Parliament to fully enforce current relevant parts of the law that prohibit gay practices.
The Republican Liberty Party says that Kenya lacks a comprehensive provision catering for anti-homosexuality and that the proposed legislation is designed to fill the gaps in the current laws.
Further, the petitioner argues that the legislation recognises the fact that same sex attraction is not an inborn and unchallengeable characteristic.
“The petition aims at providing a 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,” it states.
Caroline Wafula is a Parliamentary Reporter for the Nation Newspapers. She also reports politics and has written widely on governance, human rights and gender issues. She joined the Nation as a correspondent in 2007. Before joining the Nation Media Group, Ms Wafula was a Senior Reporter with the People Daily Newspaper. Her feature articles were also published in the Standard as a special correspondent while she was still a journalism student. She was awarded for journalism excellence by the Media Council of Kenya in 2012 and has been highly commended by various groups for positive journalism. She recently covered the 50th Session of the United Nations Committee against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland.