Saturday, 29 December 2012


Gays Kissing

Homosexuality has continued to be a controversial issue the world over. In Africa, the same sex relationships/marriages have faced strong opposition from African countries going by the heated debate in Pan African Parliament. In Uganda both male and female homosexual activity is illegal. Under the penal code, “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males carries a potential; penalty of life imprisonment. Uganda remains the one of the most vocal countries in Africa which has publicly criticized homosexuality. Other countries that are against homosexuality include: Algeria, Angola. Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania,  Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The western powers have threatened to cut aid to countries that have refused to legalize homosexuality but most African states have remained adamant.

Although the Kenyan law criminalizes homosexuality (Kenyan law provides up to 14 years in prison for same-sex activity), many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have continued to go on with their activities without problems. This can be attributed to laxity on the government’s side in enforcing the law on homosexuality hence giving the LGBT individuals a ‘lease of life’. The Lesbian, gay, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) community is quickly gaining momentum in the country going by the numerous organizations like Gay Kenya Trust advancing the interests of the LGBTs.The LGBTs are slowly being less homophobic by going out in public and revealing their sexual orientation. David Kuria Mbote, 40, who was a co-founder and general manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, came out to contest for Kiambu county senator’s seat. Everybody will be watching out to see whether he will win given his sexual orientation. Recently, National Gay and Lesbians Human Rights Commission organized an awards ceremony to recognize LGBT individuals for their contributions to the Kenyan society. Despite discrimination and stigmatization by the public, the event was a success with LGBT individuals coming out in numbers to celebrate their ‘achievements’. The Gay/Lesbian movement has continued to thrive in the country with Nairobi and Mombasa taking the lead. These towns have entertainment joints-Clubs and Pubs- designated for the gay/lesbians.

Global Fund recently initiated a program where they issue gays with lubricants and condoms to prevent Sexual Transmitted Infections. The program came under sharp criticism from the humanitarian organizations which questioned the motive behind the initiative. Are they encouraging homosexuality by issuing lubricants to the gay individuals?  The GF sought to enlist the support of a humanitarian organization (name withheld to protect its reputation) to help in the distribution of the lubricants and condoms to the gay. During the meeting with staff of the said humanitarian organization, the GF facilitator said that homosexuality in Kenya is a reality and that the spread of HIV/AIDS is on the rise among the gay community. “We want to issue them with lubricants to minimize raptures during intercourse and condoms to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS. So far we have been able to register 300 clients in Nakuru” she said. “We were all astonished by what the facilitator was saying. I have never imagined myself of one day sitting in a meeting where people are strategizing on how to encourage homosexuality. It was disgusting” said a staff who attended the meeting but didn’t want his identity revealed. 

“When she started explaining how the gay have sex, I couldn’t stand it. I walked out of the meeting but before I could reach the door other staff in attendance interrupted the facilitator and asked her to stop” he added. “A heated debate ensued and eventually we told her that we couldn’t take part in the program since it is against African culture and the meeting was brought to an abrupt end” he concluded.
However, there are those who still practice it in secret. The homosexual activities have rocked the Kenyan prisons going by the recent revelations in an investigative piece by Kenya Television Network-KTN. Inmates are engaging in sex with their fellow men either voluntarily or through coercion. According to the documentary, the rise in homosexuality in the correctional facilities is due to denial of conjugal rights though some are out of volition.

Moreover, what’s more disturbing is the fact that the homosexuality is fast growing in boarding schools both in primary and secondary levels. Talking to Ken (not his real name) whose brother was transformed to gay 3 months after being admitted in school shows the presence of homosexuality in schools. “My brother was pretty normal before he joined form one in a boarding school. When he came home for holidays he started behaving weirdly. He was now putting on very tight clothes meant for ladies and walking like a lady too. I don’t know what happened to him. It is very unfortunate and I don’t like it.” Ken said rather saddened. At some point the government floated the idea of abolishing same sex boarding schools to curb the rising homosexuality but it never came to be. Institutions of higher learning have not been left behind either in spite of the fact that ladies and gents are living in one setting. Stacy, a student in one of the public universities in western Kenya said that she witnessed a homosexual activity firsthand. “I had four roommates but one of the roommates used to sleep with her friend who I had thought missed out in room allocation. One night, I felt the bed moving vigourously since I was sleeping on the upper deck. I was wondering what could be going on since I didn’t remember seeing a male come into the room. It then dawned on me that she was a lesbian” she said.

The homosexual agenda in Kenya has been mainly propagated and promoted through the media. Nowadays, almost every movie/series has a gay/lesbian character. Media is a powerful tool of influence and those who are LGBTs may have got their motivation through the media. Those in support of the LGBTs are now using cartoons to change the mindset of the children. The cartoons are also having LGBT characters for instance Ed, Edd and Eddy. The main function of the media is not only to influence the people but also to portray homosexuality as a normal activity. The idea is that by repetitive exposure to homosexuality the society will come to accept it.

Despite the fact that Africans (including Kenyans) term it as a barbaric act that will hamper procreation, they believe that a man should only make out with a woman or vice versa and not with another person of the same gender. The number of Lesbians, gay, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) will continue to grow owing to the ‘don’t care attitude of Kenyans’. In Kenya, everybody minds his/her business. Perhaps the only challenge for the LGBTs is the jeers, and weird looks when walking on the streets.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Will Tribalism Ever End?

 Tribalism has always been a controversial topic of discussion. It is now a very thorny subject matter given the fact that the country is preparing to go to general elections. Going by the political environment in the country, it is unfortunate that our politics are tribal based rather than issue based. Politicians have aligned themselves to parties that have their tribesmen and women. Many people argue that the mindset of tribalism is being propagated by the older generation and that the youth are considered not do tribal. However, going by the comments made in various social media networks, this statement is far from the actual situation; the youth are even more tribal than the older generation.
From the foregoing, will tribalism ever end?  I may not know what your take is but I think tribalism will not end, at least not anytime soon. In point of fact, tribalism emanates from a concept that has been with us since time in memorial; discrimination. Discrimination is a notion that exists in every society from Kenya to Australia, Papua New Guinea to Bolivia you will indeed find elements of discrimination. So in a nut shell, tribalism is a form of discrimination just like racism or nepotism. Discrimination cannot end maybe in an ideal world.
Others have argued that we won’t have tribalism if we had one tribe or few tribes like two. Take the case of Somalia. Somalia as we know it has not known peace since 1990. Somalia has only one tribe-the Somali. The country has been at war ever since it is divided along clans that make up the Somali tribe. It all began with different clans claiming power citing discrimination by the ‘clan’ in power.
On the hand we have Rwanda which has only two tribes-Hutu and Tutsi. They fought each other in 1994 resulting to the world’s worst genocide. Now, Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa has over 100 tribes has conflicts which has not erupted from tribal rivalry but from religious differences which is also currently behind the woes in Mali.
So it will always come down to something to discriminate one person from the other. Tribalism cannot be stamped out completely but can be reduced as it is a form of discrimination. It is imperative that we desist from discriminating other people regardless of the parameter of inequity because there is strength and unity in diversity.

Kit-Mikayi: The Historic Rock

Kit-Mikayi: The Historic Rock

Kit-Mikayi are unique sedimentary rocks located in Kisumu West District, Kisumu County along Kisumu-Bondo road. The rocks are arranged in a rather amazing way.

One would want to ask how or who arrange the rocks that way. According to Geologists, the rocks were once beneath the earth surface but due to continuous soil erosion they became exposed showing the great architecture by God. It has excellent scenery while standing on top being blown by cool breeze.
Tales of the Rock
The word Kit Mikayi is a word in the Luo language when loosely translated means ‘rock of the first wife’. Luo custom allows polygamy and men can marry as many women he pleases. I guess you can remember the late Akuku danger who was famous for marrying over 50 women. Polygamy therefore is perfectly normal this sides of the world.
The rock in ancient times was the home of the leader of a Luo warrior of the Seme clan who have settled in that area. All weapons including spears and arrows were sharpened on the rock before the warriors could go to engage in battles with the Abaluhya and Abagusii who wanted to take over the land. Before going to war, all the warriors could convene at the rock for prayers where they would be blessed by the religious leader. The leader used to stay on the rock together with his first wife hence the name Kit-Mikayi. All other wives would bring food in a rotational basis. The rock is arranged in such way that it forms some sort of house that has rooms ranging from bedroom to resting place.
The Hole and Holy Water
There is a hole in between the rocks that the area residents believe that runs through to Lake Victoria. They claim that a man once slipped and entered the hole only his lifeless body to be found in Lake Victoria three days later. This information has not been verified so the truth is not known. Next to the hole, there is a curved rock that holds water which is believed to be holy water. People come from far and wide to fetch the ‘holy water’ for cleansing and healing purposes. Traditional religious sects like the Legio Maria come to the rock to fetch the holy water and sometimes fast for several days.
Improved Management
The rock attracts thousands of tourists who are amazed by this marvelous feature. This has brought with it lots of revenue that the residents often disagreed on how to share it. The rock is under the jurisdiction of the local government, Kisumu County Council who seem not to be bothered by the rock leaving it to the locals to manage it. The wrangles however came to a stop when minister for co-operative visited the area and launched Kit-Mikayi Co-operative Sacco which are now managing the facility. This has led to increased revenue collection and better services. There was a time when locals could emerge from all directions when they see visitors approaching the rock each one of them demanding entry fee to the rock. The co-operative has received sponsorship from Maseno University which has put some structures where one can relax and take snacks and also build washrooms which were previously missing. Trees have also been planted around the rock making it much cooler. Plans are underway of putting up a 4 star hotel in the area to accommodate more visitors who would like to spend a night at the rock.
Land of Rocks
First time visitors to the land of Seme are usually amazed by many rocks covering the land. They wonder how the residents practice agriculture. It is unfortunate that the rocks have no commercial value however they provide a perfect landscaping beautifying the land. The rocks just like Kit-Mikayi are arranged in unique designs that can take your breath away. Not yet there? Make a point to visit this historic place this coming holiday.