US overreacted over murder of gay activist

Slain fashion model Edwin Kiptoo popularly known as Chiloba.

The murder of fashion designer and gay rights activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba has elicited mixed reactions.

Life is sacred and therefore murder must be condemned by all level-headed people. Notably, the United States Department of State has joined the ongoing debate over Chiloba's murder and demanded the speedy investigations.

That is in order. But what is not in order is the subtle insinuation that Chiloba's murder was motivated by hatred for homosexuals. From preliminary investigations, that is not the case.

Kenyans are wondering, rightly, why the likes of the US are concerned about the death of one Kenyan while we have had a spate of gruesome murders and assaults, including of children recently.

The truth is that the US has been campaigning for the rights of gay people. President Barack Obama spoke against the against discrimination of gay people during his visit to Kenya in 2015. In response, President Uhuru Kenyatta termed the subject gay rights a non-issue.

There is no doubt that there are gay people in Kenya. However, although the law criminalises homosexuality, few if any Kenyans have been jailed for being gay. Majority of Kenyans mind their business and do not care who among them is gay or not. We haven't been told Chiloba's neighbours bothered about his sexual orientation. They saw a young man, a good neighbour. That is why they raised the alarm when they noted something was amiss.

We would be concerned if gay people are denied their rights; education, treatment in hospitals and so on.

The West seems determined to make it appear like gay people are targeted, which is not the case. This probably explains Uhuru's non-issue statement.

What the West should perhaps push for scrapping of laws that criminalise gay sex, as only a liar can say that Kenya has no homosexual people. But to suggest that gay people are under siege is to stretch the truth a bit too far.

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