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Liberalism or creeping compromise?

On page 33 of the book Courage; Building the Character of a Champion, Edwin Louis Cole pens; when homosexuals “came out of the closet’’and became bold in their identification with their homosexuality, when they overcame their fear of men and in their boldness openly confessed what they were (and sometimes flaunted it), they overcame much of society’s stigma and changed people’s attitudes.”

A saying also goes thus “when wealth is lost nothing is lost, when health is lost something is lost, when character is lost all is lost”.

Mercy Mwangi, roadside food vendor in Nyeri town narrated to KNA how she came to learn about lesbianism while in High School.

This was after a girl whom she shared a bunk bed with was expelled from the school for allegedly engaging in the vice.

Prior to the incident, Ms Mwangi had never imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that such acts exist.

It was only after her colleague got exposed that it dawned on her that the practice was quite rife in the institution and only alien to the ignorant.

Today, she now believes, institutions of learning act as the perfect breeding grounds for almost all antisocial activities plaguing the society and not necessarily limited to same sex relationships.

“Before I joined High School, I could never imagine how persons of the same sexual orientation could be in an erotic relationship. But how wrong I was after my very bed mate was given a suspension letter after being involved in an amorous relationship with another girl. It was shocking if not weird to say the least,” she recounts.

Homosexuality is perhaps as old as humanity with its history stretching as far as 1650 B.C during the existence of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

A person reading Genesis 19:5 cannot fail to decipher that gay relationships were nothing unusual during that early.

It was one of the evils that led to the decimation of the two cities from the face of the earth.

Historians have traced the gay practices in a dozen other ancient civilizations extending as far apart as the east from the west.

Among countries where same-sex unions were practiced include ancient Egypt (especially in  Luxor), China, India, Greece and Rome.

Idolized Greek philosopher Plato once wrote, “Homosexuality is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interests of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce.”

Today, at least 23 countries across the world have already legalized same-sex unions through nationwide voting while 10 others have done so through court decisions.

South Africa, which legalized the unions in 2006, was the first country in Africa south of the Sahara to adopt the eccentric practice.

Twelve years ago, Eric Gitari, former Executive Director of National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) challenged the Kenya NGO Coordination Board’s refusal to allow him to apply for registration of an entity under a name containing the words “gay” or “lesbian”.

Judges ruled in his favour at the High Court in 2015 and again at the Court of Appeal in 2019.

However, an appeal was later lodged at the Supreme Court seeking to set aside the lower courts’ rulings.

Through a majority decision on September 12 last year, the Supreme Court dismissed the application and ruled that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQIA+) community has the freedom to associate, which extends to the formation of associations.

Sections 162 (a) and (c), 163 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal Code establish several criminal offences, one of which, having “carnal knowledge against the order of nature,” is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

Bishop Dr. Erastus Njoroge of Foursquare Gospel Churches terms same -sex relations not only ungodly but unethical under African traditional cultures.

He blames the aping of Western ideals by a section of Kenyans for the rapid erosion of African values in favour of alien ones.

The cleric also faults the current family setup where parents are delegating their roles of mentoring their children to house managers and teachers as they pursue careers and money-making deals.

“Parents should create time to be with their children in order to talk to them to instil moral values in them. Religious leaders have neglected their calling in the ministry and are too busy to attend to the needs of their church members. It baffles me at times where church leaders spend much of their time if they cannot feed sound Biblical doctrines to their flocks,” wondered Bishop Njoroge.

“The only thing that can salvage society today is going back to the word of God. Anything short of that will never save this generation,” he insists.

According to Yahya Mahinda Yachu, same-sex unions are a deviation to the established laws of nature.

The Muslim scholar says God never created men to have union among themselves and therefore had to create a female companion for him as a complement.

“Man and woman were from the very onset created purely for procreation. It is a misconception for anyone to teach that it’s also okay for young girls or young boys to follow a deviant route and establish unions outside God’s original plan. Modern society has misled our youth into believing the family is an outdated institution which one can do without. It is such misplaced arguments that have led to an increase in same-sex relationships today,” he argues.

Mahinda now says he believes the Government should come out and make its stand known in the heated debate involving LGBTQ fraternity in the country.

He says by keeping mum over the issue, advocates of the unconventional practice will interpret this as concurrence on the practice.

Nyeri County Director of Children’s Services Kung’u Mwaniki says same-sex relationships are unnatural and alien to African culture.

The officer states that most of such practices have their roots in school set up especially in boarding schools where they are done discreetly.

Mwaniki is now challenging parents to own up to the mistake of failing to take up their role in talking to their children and go back to the God-given responsibility which he terms as the only way to salvage the modern child.

“Parents ought to have a genuine conversation with their children to help them manoeuvre the intricate nature of today’s liberalized society. Children must be made aware from the word go that same-sex relationships are wrong. Let’s call out evil by its name and not try to sugarcoat it with other fancy terms,” he says.

Davenese Okello, a smokie vendor, attributes the sweeping wave of gay relationships to poverty and erosion of our African cultural heritage.

Okello says many young people have been brainwashed through unorthodox ideas that the only way to be ‘cool’ is to defy the natural order of doing things.

Advancement of high-end tech has also played a big part in the erosion of societal morals through programs that advocate for values that were once frowned upon in our societies.

“With advancement in technology, masses are able to access any information including on homosexuality. Parents are really failing. They have an obligation to look after their children and offer guidance and counselling,” explains Okello.

Perhaps the question we all need to ask ourselves is whether same-sex unions are a cure to much needed liberalism or whether this is a clear sign of creeping compromise into our long cherished African values.

By Samuel Maina and Wanjiru Ndiritu

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