Religious leaders led dozens of protesters in condemning LGBTQ+ people in Kenya (Photo: DenisNzioka / Twitter)
Reports have emerged of calls for violence against LGBTQ+ people in Kenya in response to a landmark court ruling in favour of an LGBTQ+ organisation.
The Supreme Court of Kenya last week rejected an appeal seeking to overturn its February ruling, which ordered the government to register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) as an NGO.
This decision has ignited a wave of hatred targeting the LGBTQ+ community, with religious and political leaders openly condemning the court and the ruling.
Local media outlets reported anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations in areas including Mombasa and Eldoret, last Friday.
At a protest led by religious leaders in Mombasa, demonstrators displayed placards bearing statements such as “Even Satan wasn’t gay” and “Tears of a Kenyan child.”
Speakers at the event, including a representative from an organisation called Anti-LGBTQ+ Kenya, criticised foreign governments for what they described as an attempt to impose the “LGBTQ+ agenda” on Africans.
In a disturbing video posted on social media, MP Mohamed Ali was seen addressing the crowds and allegedly inciting violence against the LGBTQ+ community.
According to a translation, it’s claimed he cited both the Bible and the Quran to call for the killing of LGBTQ+ individuals. He also suggested that the American government should offer to take in Kenya’s LGBTQ+ population if it was so interested in them.
Several LGBTQ+ organisations, including NGLHRC, issued a statement condemning the demonstrations.
The organisations highlighted that LGBTQ+ individuals in Kenya pay taxes like everyone else. “There is a real moral question around the philosophy that it is okay for certain demographics to pay taxes to the exchequer, but not okay for them to enjoy the same levels of services, protection and goodwill extended to all other citizens,” they asserted.
The groups further urged Kenyans to embrace diversity and “respect each other’s choices, desires and aspirations, and acknowledge that our diversity does not make us weaker as a people and a nation.”
The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) on Friday issued a safety and security advisory to members of the LGBTQ+ community in light of the heightened queerphobia in the country.
It advised against wearing LGBTQ+ or queer-branded clothing, jewellery, or items in public and to avoid groups of people. It further urged increased vigilance in nine “red zone” areas.
Homosexuality remains criminalised in Kenya under colonial-era laws that refer to “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and “gross indecency,” with potential penalties of up to 14 years in prison for LGBTQ+ individuals.