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LGBT Rights Crackdown in Uganda May Reverberate Across Kenya and East African Nations

Kenya may follow Uganda in implementing a severe anti-LGBT law

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KENYA: Mohamed Ali believes there are no gay Africans, claiming homosexuality is a Western invention. He accuses openly gay Africans of dishonesty and lies for money from rights organizations or visas to the West. Ali, a Kenyan legislator, is seeking to follow Uganda and seeks approval from parliament, even if ill.

Kenya may follow Uganda in implementing a severe anti-LGBT law, potentially punishing homosexual acts with prison time or the death penalty, following Uganda’s example. The bill would impose severe penalties on those who identify as LGBT.

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A proposed Kenyan law aims to make LGBT Kenyans’ lives intolerable by punishing homosexual acts with at least 10 years in prison and “aggravated homosexuality” with death sentences. 

Campaigner Annette Atieno of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission warns that this measure could make LGBT Kenyans’ lives intolerable. The Kenyan government and the president’s spokespeople have not offered any comment on the proposed measure.

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A South Sudanese anti-LGBT law is being developed, similar to Uganda’s, and is set to be put to a vote soon. The Juba administration has not provided further details. Tanzanian member Claireline Ngonyani plans to bring up a private motion in parliament to crack down on homosexual behaviour, arguing that it harms youth and perpetuates moral decay.

Tanzania’s minister of constitutional and legal affairs, Damas Ndumbaro, believes there is limited room to tighten anti-homosexuality laws from the colonial era. He told the media the government is still seeking advice on how to address the issue.

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A Kenyan parliamentary committee is reviewing an anti-gay measure, with the possibility of referring it to the entire chamber for a vote. The LGBT community has expressed concerns, with over 20 lawmakers speaking against LGBT rights during a debate in parliament. Some advocate for legislation to increase penalties for same-sex conduct, including hanging gay men who engage in such behaviour.

A Supreme Court ruling allowed an LGBT rights organization to register as a non-governmental organization, despite criticism from President William Ruto. The proposed law in Kenya demonstrates cooperation and agreement on anti-gay policies among parliamentarians in the region, as per media reports.

Uganda’s and Kenya’s laws are considering adding new offences, including aggravated homosexuality, “promoting” homosexuality, and allowing gay intercourse on property. 

These charges are punishable by at least 10 and 5 years in jail, respectively, as per drafts. Kenyan bill architect Peter Kaluma argues that support for Uganda’s law, which has faced Western criticism and visa restrictions, is driving the effort to adopt similar legislation. Kaluma aims for these rules to be applied across Africa, stating that if Uganda were sanctioned, Africa would also be sanctioned.

In March, Ugandan legislators debated tightening anti-LGBT laws, with over 80 MPs from 14 countries attending. The event focused on African family values and sovereignty, with South Sudan following closely. Delegates demanded action on issues like pornography, sexual exploitation, transgender medical interventions, and ensuring foreign donors’ funds were not used for LGBTQ agendas or abortions.

Kenyan bill strengthens colonial-era legislation against gay sex, ending Kenya’s status as a shelter for homosexuals in East Africa. The proposed legislation prohibits asylum for sexual orientation persecution.

The LGBT community in Nairobi is uneasy about new legislation and anti-gay vitriol from public figures like Ali and Kaluma. Pride event organizers kept the venue secret to prevent disruptions. Attendee Marylize Biubwa expressed concern about Kenya’s current climate, stating that Kenya no longer feels like home.

The Family Protection Bill’s success depends on Ugandan law adoption and organized anti-LGBT groups. Lorna Dias, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, believes Ruto’s religious proclamations and the presidential election have encouraged support for the bill.

Also Read: Vladimir Putin Refutes Crucial Elements of African Peace Plan for Ukraine


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