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.