Thursday 19 November 2009

News of the new Kenya constitution from Michael Kimindu, Changing Attitude’s Kenya contact

Changing Attitude supporters in England have responded with great generosity to the request for money to enable the gay Kenyan Anglican who was attacked and driven from his home with his partner four weeks ago. We have sent them nearly £200 to enable them to recover their belongings and begin to create a new life elsewhere. With Michael, they thank everyone who responded so quickly and generously.

Less positively, Michael Kimindu reports that the Bishop of Nairobi seems to have grown cold feet. The Bishop had offered Michael an appointment to meet him last week, but when Michael arrived at his office on the agreed day he was told the Bishop was away on a pastoral visit. Michael was asked to return last Monday. He called the bishop’s secretary before leaving home. She talked to the bishop who said Michael should wait for an appointment on another day, which will be communicated to him later. Michael is still waiting to hear.

In the same vein, a reporter from The Nation newspaper who interviewed Michael has withheld from publishing the article until, as Michael says, ‘God knows when’. The media in Kenya supports the evangelical stand against homosexuality.

New Kenyan constitution rejects gay marriage

Michael directed my attention to the draft of the new constitution which is now being discussed in Kenya and which has so far failed to respond to the needs of LGBTI Kenyans.

Same sex marriages will not be allowed if proposals in the harmonised Kenyan draft constitution become law. Only marriages between opposite sex will be recognised despite attempts by the gay community to have their relationships legalised. Those wishing to marry partners of the same sex still have to seek countries where such marriages are allowed.

The proposal by the committee of experts comes a month after two men became the first Kenyan gay couple to openly wed in London, sparking a huge debate on morality issues in the country. It elicited sharp responses from religious organisations, who described the union between Chege Ngengi and Daniel Chege Gichia as “unacceptable and unnatural.

During the drafting of the proposed law, Otiende Amollo, a member of the committee had revealed that they had rejected suggestions by British MPs to recognise and protect the rights of homosexuals in the draft. “We told them that such a thing cannot happen because if we did so, a majority of Kenyans would reject the draft during the forthcoming referendum,” Otiende Amollo told journalists last month.

Michael told me that he called the General Manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition this morning to find out what they are doing. He told Michael they are going to have a meeting with a constitutional expert to decide on the way forward. Pray for us, says Michael.

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