They have 'infected' Kenya! Has the gay debate reached Nairobi?

Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Makau Mutua
                                     Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Makau Mutua

Kenya has evaded the homosexuality debate that seems to have been taken up by the international press after Uganda and Nigeria recently passed harsh laws against gays.

But it seems Kenya – often viewed as homophobic as the rest of its African partners – may not evade the rage of Western world for long.

Gay rights activists were furious on January 14 after a debate on Twitter that left Judicial Service Commission member Ahmednasir Abdullahi condemning homosexuality.

The fiery debate by Ahmednasir and a prominent scholar has drawn Kenya into the ongoing debate on Africa and homophobia.

A New York-based renowned political and social columnist Prof Makau Mutua on January 13 threw tirades at Ahmednasir over his support for the recent gay marriage ban in Nigeria.

In his rant on Twitter, Makau – a professor at Buffalo Law School in New York – blasted the Nigerian government for outlawing same sex marriages.

On January 133, President Goodluck Jonathan signed a new law that bans same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection. Makau’s posts attracted Ahmednasir’s rage who equally responded with strong statements:

Ahamednasir Abdullahi: If Prof Makua dedicated half the time he spends defending gay rights to mainstream rights mankind could have made huge progress.

Ahmednasir Abdullahi: Makau exhibits the native’s longing to be admired/loved by those who see rights thru eurocentric prism

Ahmednasir Abdullahi: I personally have no phobia of gay rights but can’t Makau also talk about something else. He is obsessed, frankly.

Ahmednasir, Abdullahi: I can see his longing his cry his sobbing to be admitted to the West hall of fame. And his project is gay rts.

But Makau Mutua responded swiftly:

Prof Makau Mutua: Ahmednasir, gay rights are human rights. CJ Mutunga and Betty Murungi can educate you.

 Prof Makau Mutua: Ahmednasir, my book – Human Rights: A Political & Cultural Critique

— will open your eyes

 Prof Makau Mutua: You’re too smart to argue like African dictators who suppress human rights because they’re “Western.”


 The conversation ended after Makau asked Ahmednasir whether he would be happy if a certain community is marginalized in Kenya the way gays are.

Ahmednasir did not respond further.

 But in an interview with The Nairobian, Dennis Nzioka of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (Galck) termed the vitriol between the two scholars as unfortunate.

 “Each Kenyan from the president to the prostitute has a right according to our constitution 2010. Ahmednasir being a lawyer should be guided by same principles of law that protect citizens despite their gender and values.

 “Homosexuality should not be confused with prostitution. It is a way of life. What happens between two men who share a bed should not be a concern to Ahmednasir who is supporting what young countries like Uganda and Nigeria are doing to homosexuals.”

In December, Ugandan MPs angered the western world when they chose to worsen the punishment for homosexual acts to include life imprisonment.

 Galck chairman Erick Gitari told The Nairobian:

“I am a lawyer like Ahmednasir, and I know human freedom should be universal. We ushered in the constitution in 2010 and accepted we are a democracy, just like Uganda and Nigeria.