Popular

Kenya's Courts Have Failed the LGBT Community Once Again

The High Court has decided that homosexuality will not be decriminalized in Kenya.

The LGBT community in Kenya and its allies have been struck a heavy blow. Kenya's High Court has decided to uphold the criminal status of homosexuality in the country, according to the BBC.


Whilst it is not illegal to be a homosexual in Kenya, in practice, the current laws do criminalize any sexual intimacy between members of the same sex.

In 2016, LGBT activists filed a petition to repeal section 162 of Kenya's Penal Code which states: "Any person who: Has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature."

On social media, #Repeal162 gained momentum as people from all over the world rallied together and stood in solidarity with Kenyans. After a disappointing postponement of the ruling back in February, Kenyans expected the country to make a historical judgement in favor of a marginalized and disenfranchised community.

However, the High Court has decided to rather stand on the side of injustice and insist that it has not been provided with enough evidence for discrimination against the LGBTQ community to change the law.

Hivos, a non-profit organisation that fights against discrimination, abuse of power and inequality, said the following:

"Today, May 24 2019, is a sad day indeed. The Kenyan High Court missed a golden opportunity to protect the human rights of all its citizens by failing to repeal section 162 of the penal code that criminalizes consensual sexual conduct between two adults of the same sex."

The organisation also added that, "So the struggle for human rights continues. Together with our partners we will continue to advocate for the rights of everyone to freely be themselves and participate in society."

Many have rightfully expressed their disappointment on social media:




Popular
Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How CKay's 'Love Nwantiti' Became the World's Song

Nigerian singer and producer CKay talks to OkayAfrica about the rise of his international chart-topping single "Love Nwantiti," his genre-defying sound and the reasons behind this era of afrobeats dominance.