Yet another movie has been banned in Kenya for going against the Christian laws that the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) decided is against everything they hold dear.
Unfortunately, Kenyans do not seem to hold the same values dear; those abroad continue to watch the (four) films KFCB has banned, if the numbers on YouTube and other film streaming sites are anything to go by. And even locally, the movies with the very same themes are being watched – nay, encouraged, even.
I had hoped that the eviction of the bearded and confused crusader would reduce the moral policing of the classification board, but it is unfortunately not so. The visions and disillusions we have of society continue to be perpetuated, even though they really are bald-faced lies, and Kenyans go along with it.
Why the dishonesty? Kenyans thrive in illegality – our Parliament is illegal, and no one is fighting that – all the scandals our politicians are caught in are illegal, but nary a one has lost a seat. Even during Covid-19 restrictions, illegal clubs and activities thrived, and Kenyans still forged on.
This therefore prompts me to conclude that it is not about the illegality of actions as KFCB says, but who is doing the illegality. If you were well-off enough to pay someone off to get away with traipsing around during curfew, then more power to you. If you are not, you risk getting shot in the face.
If you are rich enough to make a movie abroad, and then come and sell it here or show it on a Kenyan screen, then no one cares about the theme when you have foreign dollars and tourist funds.
But woe unto you if you make a movie in Kenya and need a board to validate it and it is something that their petty Christian hearts cannot subscribe to.
Does it sound like I have a chip on my shoulder against KFCB? I do, and I have written about it on this same column for years. It baffles me that at a time when the Kenyan film industry could be thriving, producing Lupitas and Eddies and Mumbis every which way, it is being stifled by a bunch of individuals with no forethought, no scruples, and no actual merit.
The fact that the very same themes we ban local films for are the very same ones we show daily on Mexican or other soap operas and dramas reeks of a bias against local talent.
At the base of it all, though, Kenyans are not children, and should not be treated as such. Everyone has a moral code that they live by, that governs what they do or what they watch. If there’s something on TV that you don’t like, flip the channel. Let Kenyans decide what they want to watch – like adults.