by Don Ngetich , Nairobi

by Don Ngetich , Nairobi

Kenyan Court Postpones Ruling on Same-sex Activities Case

08 Mar, 2019

by Don Ngetich , Nairobi

The Kenyan High Court postponed the much awaited ruling on whether to decriminalize gay sex in Kenya to May 24.

While apologizing for not being able to deliver the ruling, Justice Chacha Mwita who is one of the high court judges, cited few challenges one of them being the absence of some of the judges for the case. Mr. Chacha stated:

“We have had a few challenges, one of our colleagues is still on leave the other one is outside Nairobi while two of us are involved in other benches of more than three judges. It is not an easy task to bring the three of us together.”

The expected ruling that stirred hot debate follows a June 2016 petition eight petitioners. Among them being the Kenya Human Rights Commission rooting for acknowledgment of same-sex relationships.

It will be delivered at the Milimani courts by a three-judge bench.

One section of the penal code states that anyone who has “sex… against the order of nature” can be imprisoned for 14 years.

Another sections has it that “indecent practices between males” could see one land in jail for five years.

The petition seeks to repeal sections 162 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal code which they deem to be unconstitutional as its infringing on fundamental human rights.

“Members of the LGBT community face literally every form of abuse and discrimination that you can think of… so anything from physical violence, street harassment, sexual violence, evictions, expulsions from school, you know unjustifiable expulsions on the suspicion that someone is gay, also exclusion from communities including families. And this is because of the persistence of these laws,” said Kennedy Mwikya of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

The religious organisations opposing the petition, however, insist same-sex relations should remain illegal.

“It is not just a religious question. It’s a question of cultural values. The Constitution of Kenya was enacted at a time when Kenyan’s were very alive to the debate about same sex behavior and that Kenyans made it very clear to the committee of experts and the people framing the Constitution, that they wanted a Constitution that safeguards and respects their values, which is that sex and marriage is between a man and a woman,” argues UPS Charles Kanjama, Lawyer of the Kenya Christian Professional Forum.