David O. Monda
The recent high profile pronouncements by Kenyan politicians demonstrating against homosexuality in Kenya prior to Obama’s visit raise a fundamental question. Is president Obama looking to introduce homosexuality in Kenya? The answer is yes, if he could.
His liberal leanings, world view and Ivy League educational background lend to the irreconcilable fact that if he was president of Kenya, he would nominate justices to Kenyan courts that are sympathetic to the notion of an activist interpretation of the constitution to support gay rights.
However, Obama is not the president of Kenya. Kenyans need to decide for themselves what their development priorities are. Whatever one’s position is on the issue of homosexuality, we can all agree that debating the issue with nausea will not protect a single Kenyan from an Al Shabbab attack, shield their primary school parking lot from a well-connected land-grabber or provide employment to a changaa addicted youth.
The paranoia related to the issue of gays in Kenyan culture stems from the recent US Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states in America. This decision has no impact on Kenya nor should it be Obama’s agenda to impose the ruling of a US Court on a sovereign nation like Kenya.
A Swahili saying goes “pili pili usioila, yakuwashia nini?” (How does the pepper you do not eat affect you?”). The excessive concern among Kenyan politicians about the intimate activities of others in the privacy of their bedrooms is misplaced. In addition to this, government has no place legalizing morality for society. If this were the case, everyone would be in jail!
Rampant insecurity, high unemployment and land grabbing are the major issues crippling Kenya, not homosexuality. Debating innovative ways to expand Kenya’s access to US markets, increase value addition industry and enhancing technology transfer would be better uses of the limited time Obama will have in Kenya than rambling on about the sexual proclivities of a free people.