Kenya’s court considers reform

Gay Kenyans anxiously await a verdict in the landmark case seeking to decriminalize gay sex.

In Africa persecution of gay people is rife. Sexual minorities are routinely abused, assaulted by mobs, raped by police or vigilantes, or enslaved by criminals.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is one of the groups that petitioned the court to repeal sections of a colonial era Penal Code, which it says violate constitutional rights to equality, dignity and privacy.

LGBT campaigners, Christian and Muslim groups and the office of the attorney general testified at the three-day High Court hearing.

The court said yesterday that it would announce the date that it will deliver its ruling on April 26.


Kenya’s anti-gay laws challenged

Kenya’s High Court began hearing arguments today challenging parts of the penal code seen as targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission argues that sections of the code are in breach of the constitution. In Kenya consensual same-sex relations between adults remain illegal.

The code is also used to justify violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the East African nation said the commission’s executive director, Eric Gitari.

“People just rush to make decisions and judgment about queer people when the truth is, it is not as bad as it is put out there,” activist Jay Arap Salat said. “It is not about the monstrous things people say about us. It is not about pedophilia, sodomizing or things like those. It is just love, we are out here, we are love, we just want love and to love each other.”

Legislator Irungu Kangata, who challenged the petition, called homosexuality a lifestyle choice.

“Well, I am somehow perturbed to see that this case is being supported by the westerners,” Kangata said. “It is a form of western colonization. They want to demean Africans. They want to demean us Kenyans.”

Good luck to the petitioners.

Gay rights in Ghana? It might be a long wait

The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, told religious leaders that the Parliament will not be coerced into passing any laws that endorse gay rights.

Prof Oquaye insisted that the current crop of parliamentary leadership would not endorse an act that majority of Ghanaians abhor.

“If you tell me that a man must sleep with a man so as to show his human rights for Ghana, I can assure you that our Parliament is a real micropause of the rule of Ghana. Ghanaians do not support gay rights and nobody is going to make any law that will support this kind of thing.”

After a courtesy call by Amnesty International some time ago, where they made demands including the scrapping of the death penalty from the statute books, he told them that African leaders were getting tired of some of the demands with regards to homosexuality on the basis of human rights.

“Following what Tony Blair said which I personally wrote him a letter that if we do not go the homosexual way, it was going to affect their aid to us. Honestly in view of these developments, we Africans are also concerned about certain things that may appear really intellectual …It is becoming a human right in some countries. The right to do homosexuality. The right for a human being to sleep with an animal. We are tired of some of these things and we must be frank about it. ..I think all these matters need to be seriously interrogated …,” the Speaker had said.

Sleep with an animal? What’s that got to do with gay rights?

Meanwhile, shun anything originating from Ghana, which joined the Commonwealth in 1957 – and has clearly learned nothing from their connection with the Commonweath so far. In the meantime, let’s hope he doesn’t have to sit through “The colour of water”.

Mummies arrested

Egypt Independent | r

Egypt independent reports that a number of men were arrested in an apartment in Alexandria, Egypt, about ten days ago, for homosexuality.

Police at Dekheila Police Station received information claiming that “weird” young men had frequently visited an apartment on Gameeya Street, Hanoville, in western Alexandria.

Subsequent investigations indicated that a real estate agent rented the apartment months ago, and used it to host group-sex parties.

The men had security measures in place.

…the men – perhaps fearing police repercussions – imposed a wall of secrecy on their activity, and did not allow strangers to approach the apartment or see their personalities, customers were received after using special codes known to members of the community.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt. Since the 1990s, police have been employing a 1950 anti-prostitution law and a 1961 law against “debauchery” to arrest and imprison homosexuals.

Ghana’s shame

Earlier this week The Guardian discovered that in Ghana, lesbians were more likely to face violence than gay men, who hardly ever face violence.

Human Rights Watch report that many of them have been forced into marriage or sex work, have been beaten, evicted from their homes, ostracised by their communities, and struggle to find accommodation and employment.

Ghana enacted its anti-gay laws in 1960, after independence from the UK. Unlike other African countries it has not enacted further sanctions against the gay community since then. The 1960 Criminal Offences Act criminalises gay sex, serves as a barrier to seeking justice.

Ghana is a liberal democracy that prizes fundamental human rights, yet it has repeatedly rejected calls by UN bodies to repeal the Criminal Offences Act against “unnatural carnal knowledge”, said Human Rights Watch, who described the country as one of “profound contradictions”.

Escapees tell their story

For a number of years Your Activist has received word from gay people in Uganda about the persecution they faced. Your Activist’s advice was always to get to a place of safety.

Apollo Kimuli and Barnabas Wobiliya have done just that and have spoken to the Salt Lake Tribune about their lives.

The slurs came at the young boy like barbs.
Sometimes the word hurled his way from other kids was “guera,” meaning “girl” in the dialect of his native Ugandan village. At other times, it was “mudiga,” a word used for gay people, he said.
“I used to talk like a girl … walk like a girl. I used to be in the company of girls, so they called me all sorts of names, because I was expressing like a girl,” said Barnabas, … who remembers being about 10 when the teasing began.

A 2016 report by the U.S. State Department criticized Uganda for its human- and civil-rights failures, including violence and discrimination against women, children and other marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ community.

Your Activist is glad so many people have escaped persecution in Uganda, and hopes that conditions in Uganda will improve soon.

Gay Botswana student goes to court for his human rights


Moreri Sejakgomo | 17164

A 21-year-old University of Botswana student, Letsweletse Motshidiemang, has filed papers in the Lobatse High Court challenging the constitutionality of Section 164(a) and 167 of the Botswana Penal Code, which criminalise homosexuality. Motshidiemang says the law interferes with his fundamental right to liberty, his right to use his body as he sees fit, which includes expressing his sexuality through the only means available to him as a homosexual, and he has a right to equal protection of law and the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment. The student wants the court to declare that the said sections interfere with his fundamental right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment or other such treatment.

“The law violates my fundamental right and freedom to privacy in that it interferes with an intimate and personal aspect of my life that causes no disrespect to the rights and freedoms of others and also causes no harm to the public,” he states. He says arguments that Batswana do not accept homosexuality do not hold any water as evidenced by remarks made by Members of Parliament Botlogile Tshireletso, Duma Boko and some chiefs to the effect that there should be no discrimination based on sexual orientation.