The decision by the Supreme Court to allow the registration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) groups has sparked outrage across the country, showing that Kenyans are not ready for such a debate.
While it is within the Supreme Court’s mandate to uphold the Constitution by making sure the rights of all are respected, it should have considered the views of a majority of Kenyans.
President William Ruto has been categorical that the Church will be at the centre of his administration, yet religious groups and other stakeholders who strongly condemn the move were not invited to share their views before the ruling was made.
Some of these leaders are now threatening to challenge the ruling while many Kenyans are yet to come to terms with the decision.
Kenya is one of the many countries in Africa where same-sex relationships are illegal, with the exception being South Africa, Cape Verde, Mauritius and Mozambique.
Same-sex marriage remains a global conundrum, with some governments still considering whether to grant legal recognition to gay marriages, while others only allow it in certain jurisdictions within their borders.
With some lawmakers threatening to amend the Constitution to disband the Supreme Court following the controversial judgment, it is evident that a majority of Kenyans have a different stand on the matter.
Since this is a topic that can no longer be avoided, there should be a proper discussion on the issue.
This should involve a wide section of the country, represented by relevant organisations.
Nonetheless, every human being has the right to be treated fairly and their rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution are protected, including the freedom of association.
However, it’s true that most Africans do not condone same-sex unions. Western countries have long been accused of financial manipulation and coercion of African countries in order to advance LGBTQI rights.
Some leaders argue that such ‘western’ ideologies do not conform to African cultures.
As a country, we should not shy away from this debate. We should agree on how to proceed with the issue.
However, we should also remember that the sexual orientation of an individual does not make them less human. Individuals with different sexual orientations have inherent human rights and thus stigmatising and discriminating against them is inhuman.
That said, Africans respect their values and cultures and should not be forced or influenced to pass legislations that are against what they consider normal. To be modern doesn’t necessarily mean to pass laws to please the West at the expense of our core values and beliefs.
Muturo Ndungu, Nairobi