Kenyans will have to wait for three more months to know the fate of gay sex in the country. This is after the High Court postponed a landmark ruling to determine the legality and illegality of gay sex in the country on grounds that judges were busy.
The eagerly awaited decision was rescheduled by outgoing Constitutional and Human Rights Division Judge Chacha Mwita on Friday, February 22, Friday, May 24 explaining the verdict was not ready.
A three-bench judge comprising Justices Roselyne Aburili, John Mativo and Mwita was set to rule on the matter filed by director of National Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission (NGLRC) Eric Gitari. In the petition, Gitari requested the court to scrap Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code which criminalise same sex marriages.
Some of the judges presiding over the matter reportedly had a lot in their hands at the moment and announced the decision would be delivered in 91 days. He also cited the huge volumes of soft copy files sent to the judges as an impediment to the swift conclusion of the matter.
“The news I have today may not be pleasing. One of our colleagues is still on leave,” Mwita apologised on behalf of his absent counterparts. A section of anti-gay caucus members protest disputing the legalisation of same sex marriages.
The gay lobby group submitted that Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code was promoting stigma, violence and discrimination against the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
Section 162 of the Penal Code classifies gay sex or carnal knowledge against the natural order as a punishable offence while 165 outlaws gross indecency, the latter attracts a prison sentence of five years.
Under the law provisions in Section 162, individuals convicted of gay sex are liable to be jailed for 14 years. The gay community lobby group perceives the provisions as being in conflict with the constitutional stipulation which explicitly protects all its citizens against discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.
President Uhuru Kenyatta steered clear form LGBTQ discussion during former US President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2016, terming it as a non-issue.
“There are some things that we must admit we don’t share. Our societies don’t accept. It is very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept.”
Despite concerted efforts to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community across the world, 70 countries, most of them from Africa term sexuality a taboo and prosecution is likely. In Africa, South Africa was the first country to legalise same sex affairs in 2006.