THE PROPOSED ANTI-GAY LEGISLATION IN KENYA “QUEER”

Until this week, many people did not know Edward Onwong’a Nyakeriga, perhaps because he is a minor political party official with no opportunity for media exposure. I googled his name on the Internet and could find nothing of substance in his name..

But a few days ago he exploded into the national limelight to claim his fifteen minutes of fame by sending to his surrogates in Parliament what I consider the “queerest”  and most farcical Bill ever sent for debate by the National Assembly.

This unassuming gentleman, who is allied to a nondescript party, the Republican Liberty Party (RLP), wants gays stoned to death as a punishment for their so-called wayward behavior. He wants maximum punishment for homosexuals, lesbians and transgender characters, caught having sex with anyone under eighteen; or engaging in sex while infected with HIV. 

I call the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill queer (no pun intended) because it will introduce an element of primitivity in our otherwise modern judicial system. Stoning of convicts is practiced in uncivilised and backward communities, It is as anti-quated as it is outlandish. It abuses the Bill of Rights in our Constitution and has the potential of igniting social discordance. The Bill is queer because it will reduce Kenya, a well-respected sovereign country, to the level of a brigand outfit, of the likes of Al Shabaab and Boko Haram.

Fellow Kenyans, this proposed legislation is misplaced and completely unnecessary and should be disallowed.

Homosexuals, like the majority of us who are heterosexuals, are human beings who are entitled to the same basic rights of existence and the same application of the law as everyone else.They cannot be discriminated against. To do so is to deny them their human rights.

With more and more countries taking the liberal route of legalising same sex marriages across the globe, the gay angle is an international magnet, A simple party official, who until last week was under the bottom of the radar, is now likely to be a global reference point for the anti-gay community in Kenya. The international press has already taken up the story and is running with it like everything anti-African. I have no doubt Nyakeriga will, from now on, be on the lips of many foreign and local non-governmental organisations that are advocating the rights of the LGBT – Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender – community. 

Nyakeriga has elicited the help of  a group of anti-gay MPs in Parliament to push through the Bill – since his party has no representatives there – which has already been sent to the House Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.

It is my hope that the legislators mandated to midwife the Bill through Parliament will encourage public debate of the same outside Parliament so that Kenyans wishing to make a contribution can do so before the debate begins in the House.

And that is my say.

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WHY KENYA HAS BECOME A HAVEN FOR INTERNATIONAL DRUG LORDS

Recent interceptions of huge drug consignments at sea and on land suggest Kenya has become one of the biggest ports of entry for traffickers moving contraband drugs from South America to Europe and North America.

The problem is so big that I see no point of listing the colossal amounts of drugs nabbed within the Kenyan territory over the years; nor enumerate the number of crooks who have been caught at our entry points.

I also see no reason to name names of big time, politically-connected, drug lords in the country since this information is in the domain of the government. Members of drug cartels have been exposed not only in Parliament but in numerous international reports. Some of them are occupying very senior positions in the political establishment. Kenyans know them. 

But there are reasons why Kenya is a preferred trans-shipment point for drug traffickers. One is corruption. That connivance exists between international dealers and officials in government, especially in security and customs agencies is a matter of common knowledge.. Officials are compromised to look the other way as containers full of illicit goods roll past exit gates. Some of these drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine, find their way into our neighborhoods, turning our children into zombies and even killing them.

Because of corruption, international drug barons find it easy to move freely in Kenya, As I write, three Polish drug lords are reportedly hiding in the country, and are undoubtedly, being aided and abetted by their local counterparts. The government of Poland wants them arrested and deported.

Two, immunity, We have had too many cases where large caches of drugs have been intercepted and people have been taken to court, but the story has ended there. Rarely do we hear of convictions. What we often see are individuals – most of them from disadvantaged communities – being hauled to prison for long periods of time for possessing small amounts of drugs. The big shots go scot-free. Our courts are also too liberal and often grant bail to foreign drug dealers who then abscond. Foreign cartels know this and find it safer to operate through or within the country.

Three, lack of political goodwill. Although we have strong, comprehensive laws, there is lack of commitment by the leadership in general. America has given us patrol boats for use in the Indian Ocean and it continues to collaborate with us on intelligence matters, but more funding dedicated commitment, and political goodwill, are needed from the government to wage a complete war.

Three, the government body mandated to formulate policies on drug trafficking and use – NACADA – is a toothless bull-dog; it barks but do not bite. It has completely failed in its job. This is evident from the large numbers of drug addicts in our towns. That is why NACADA should either be disbanded or be re-constituted; and be given a broad-based mandate to handle all matters of illicit drugs and not just the small matters of policing bangi and kumikumi dealers. 

Expecting NACADA as presently constituted to take on the gigantic task of shutting down the international drug trafficking chain is like deploying a chihuahua puppy to guard the Central Bank. 

And that is my say.