Kenya Set To Follow In Uganda's Anti-LGBTQ Steps
Photo by John Ochieng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Kenya Set To Follow In Uganda's Anti-LGBTQ Steps

East Africa continues to threaten their LGBTQ communities as Uganda's recent bill seems to be inspiring the region.

In the wake of Uganda's recent enactment of one of the world's harshest anti-LGBT laws, Kenya is now contemplating a similar course of action. If passed, the bill would impose severe punishments, including death, for engaging in same-sex relationships. The proposed legislation has garnered support from two lawmakers in the Kenyan parliament, who presented a draft of the bill.

One such lawmaker, Ali, who is a member of Kenya's parliament, is determined to emulate Uganda's legislative crackdown on LGBTQ individuals, even going so far as to express a willingness to participate in parliamentary proceedings while being critically ill in intensive care.

Reports state that similar initiatives are underway in Tanzania and South Sudan, as confirmed by parliamentarians from those countries. This revelation unveils a wider anti-LGBTQ legislative campaign taking shape across East Africa. Some regional lawmakers frame the issue as a battle to preserve African values and sovereignty, which they believe have come under assault from Western pressure to embrace gay rights.

A draft of Kenya's Family Protection Bill, bears striking resemblance to the Ugandan law signed by President Yoweri Museveni in late May. The Ugandan law has drawn widespread criticism from the LGBTQ community, human rights activists, and Western governments. Under the proposed Kenyan law, engaging in same-sex relations would be punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison, while "aggravated homosexuality," including cases involving minors, disabled individuals, or transmission of terminal diseases, would carry the death penalty.

"It is a hateful piece of legislation that will truly make the lives of queer Kenyans unbearable if passed," said Annette Atieno of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission campaign group. Kenya's proposed anti-gay bill is currently undergoing scrutiny by a parliamentary committee, after which it may be referred to the full chamber for a vote. However, officials have not provided any indication regarding the potential timeline for the bill's progress.

Amid this development, the LGBTQ community has expressed deep concerns about the ramifications of the bill. Three rights groups have conveyed these fears, highlighting the potential negative impact on the rights and well-being of LGBTQ individuals in Kenya.