Kenya MP likens homosexuality to terrorism

Aden Duale said homosexuality was "as serious as any other social issue" - but rejected tougher legislation

A top Kenyan leader has said that homosexuality in the country is as bad a problem as terrorism – but claimed that existing laws are tough enough.

Aden Duale, from President Uhuru Kenyatta's ruling Jubilee coalition, said in response to MPs demanding harsher laws that legal sanctions did not need to be stepped up.  

Legislator Alois Lentoimaga  asked: "Can't we just be brave enough, seeing that we are a sovereign state, and outlaw gayism and lesbianism, the way Uganda has done?"

In February, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill criminalising homosexuality in the country, prompting some international donors to suspend aid.

The bill will see those found guilty of “homosexuality” sentenced to 14 years in jail.

Duale, who speaks on behalf of the Kenyan government in the assembly, said: "We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism.

"It's as serious as terrorism. It's as serious as any other social evil," he said.

He was referring in particular to a recent spate of attacks, which were carried out by al Qa’ida-linked Somali Islamist militants in retaliation for Kenya's intervention in neighbouring Somalia.

But Duale said the Kenyan constitution and the penal code already had sufficient anti-gay provisions, denying the government was reluctant to tighten such laws for fear of losing international aid.

He said 595 cases of homosexuality had been investigated in Kenya since 2010, when a new constitution was adopted, and courts had convicted or acquitted the accused, while police had found no organisations openly championing homosexuality in violation of the law.

"We do not need to go the Uganda way, we have the constitution and the penal code to deal with homosexuality, and so this debate is finished, we will not be enacting any new tougher laws," Duale told Reuters.

Homosexuality is broadly taboo in Africa and illegal in 37 countries. Fear of violence, imprisonment and loss of jobs means few gays in Africa are open about their sexuality.

Kenya's penal code says any person "who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" is guilty of a felony and can be jailed for 14 years.

Anti-gay groups have emerged in Kenya after Nigeria and Uganda toughened up laws against homosexuals.

One of these groups, The Save Our Men Initiative, has said it is launching a "Zuia Sodom Kabisa" campaign, meaning "prevent Sodom completely" in Swahili, to "save the family, save youth, save Kenya".

Nigeria has outlawed same-sex relationships. Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has said homosexuals are "vermin" and must be fought like malaria-causing mosquitoes.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Read more: President Museveni signs anti-gay bill
Orange pulls advertising from Uganda's anti-gay newspaper
Where in the world is the worst place to be gay?
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones