Homosexuality in Kenya is as bad a problem as terrorism, the ruling party’s parliamentary leader said, but argued against stepping up legal sanctions on the grounds that existing laws were tough enough.Aden Duale, the majority leader from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition, was responding to a group of MPs demanding tougher laws. ”Can’t we just be brave enough, seeing that we are a sovereign state, and outlaw gayism and lesbianism, the way Uganda has done?” legislator Alois Lentoimaga said.
Uganda has voted for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, prompting some international donors to suspend aid. Duale, who speaks on behalf of the Kenyan government in the assembly, said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism.
“It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other social evil,” Duale said, referring to a spate of attacks by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab carried out in retaliation for Kenya’s intervention in neighbouring Somalia.
But he said the Kenyan constitution and the penal code already had sufficient anti-gay provisions, denying the government was reluctant to tighten such laws for fear of losing international aid.
Duale said 595 cases of homosexuality had been investigated in Kenya since 2010, when a new constitution was adopted, and courts had convicted or acquitted the accused, while police had found no organisations openly championing homosexuality in violation of the law.
“We do not need to go the Uganda way, we have the constitution and the penal code to deal with homosexuality, and so this debate is finished, we will not be enacting any new tougher laws,” Duale told the Reuters news agency later. — Aljazeera
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