On Wednesday, Bishop Hudson Ndeda, President of the Church and Clergy Association of Kenya, spoke out in the daily newspaper The Star. He called on the Kenyan Supreme Court to reconsider its decision earlier this year to allow members of the LGBT community to form associations. An appeal had been filed, but the Supreme Court rejected it this week. This has once again brought the issue of homosexuality to the forefront of Kenyan politics, as a bill to criminalize it is still awaiting parliamentary approval.
Hudson Ndeda expressed his “shock” at the recent positions taken by the Kenyan Supreme Court and urged President William Ruto to break his silence on this matter.
Since April, the “Family Protection” bill, introduced by the opposition and supported by the Church, has been awaiting parliamentary approval. This bill seeks to criminalize homosexuality, with penalties ranging from 10 years in prison to the death penalty.
“Laws are passed by an independent Parliament without the presidency getting involved,” explained Emmanuel Talam, spokesperson for William Ruto, to RFI.
This bill has put the Kenyan government in an awkward position, as it is not well-received by some partner countries. In July, 49 American lobbying groups called on their government to cease trade negotiations with Kenya until the “Family Protection” bill was withdrawn.
The Kenyan LGBT community, however, remains hopeful. According to Ivy Werimba, spokesperson for Galck+, the Kenyan Gay and Lesbian Coalition, the recent positions of the Supreme Court “do not constitute an attack on families. On the contrary, they allow all Kenyans and their families to live freely.”