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My film my choice judge declares, suspends ban on lesbian themed movie

By Kamau Muthoni | September 22nd 2018
Wanuri Kahiu Rafiki. [Photo: Standard]

The High Court yesterday dealt the Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) a major blow by lifting the ban of a lesbian themed movie Rafiki.

Justice Wilfrida Okwany, in a decision that speaks to the freedom of the media and right to artistic expressions, found that moral police led by KFCB's Ezekiel Mutua has no authority to keep Kenyans in the dark on what is already happening.

She said although the board banned the film produced by Wanuri Kahiu on account that it would pollute Kenyan’s minds, gays and lesbians have been living among us for a long time.

“I am not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society whose moral foundation will be shaken by watching a film depicting a gay theme,” she said.

The judge ruled that Mutua and his team cannot control peoples’ choices on what they see on their screens.

“This court notes that the choice by an adult on whether or not to watch a film cannot be directed by the respondents or anyone for that matter,” she ruled. “In any event, the respondents have not stated that any Kenyan will be under obligation to watch the film or that they will be forced to watch it against their will.” 

Justice Okwany equated Rafiki’s film ban to Kenya’s dark past where the government banned plays and novels.

She said the board was blowing hot and cold on the film as its reviewers classified it on April 11, 2018 and okayed it to be watched by anyone above 18 years. Fifteendays later, she said, KFCB condemned it.

She ruled that in South Africa, the film was classified as suitable for anyone above 16 and had gained popularity in other countries.

The judge allowed the film to show case in Kenya for seven days, saying it will allow Wanuri to enter it in the Oscars competition.


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