The Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya has opposed stiffening the East African country’s treatment of homosexuality, telling reporters the country’s current criminal code is a sufficient deterrent to vice.
The Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala’s comments came in the wake of moves in Parliament to stiffen the British colonial era Sodomy Laws. Section 162 of the penal code says that unnatural sexual acts constitute a felony and if convicted, the guilty parties are liable of imprisonment for up to 14 years.
The code further states that any man who commits an act of gross indecency with another man, or procures another man to commit an act of gross indecency is liable for imprisonment of up to five years. Convictions under the act are rare, however, though gay activists claim the threat of imprisonment is used by police to harass suspects.
Last month five MPs announced the formation of a caucus to strengthen the laws along the model of recently enacted legislation in neighboring Uganda. Mr. Kang’ata Irungu, the spokesman for the group, said in a statement: “From the onset, we aver for several reasons that homosexuality is wrong, illegal and unethical. Any person promoting or practicing gayism in Kenya ought to be arrested. It is against the African tradition and illegal.”
Western pressure on African governments to decriminalize homosexual acts motivated the MPs’ call to stiffen penalties.
“In the East there are strong anti-gay laws. How come [America and Britain] are targeting Africans only? Gayism is not natural,” Mr. Kang’ata told The Star.
Asked for his views on the controversy, Archbishop Wabukala told reporters that in principle he favored less legislation on most issues. He noted that “Kenya’s constitution clearly outlaws” homosexual acts.
“Just like Uganda has been guided by the constitution, Kenya has a more clear constitution on the relationship.”
From the Anglican Church’s perspective, “we are very clear when it comes to matters of relationship which should be between two opposite sexes,” he told The Star.
The archbishop stated that it was a false anthropology, however, to conflate actions with individuals. A person was much more than his sexual appetites. It was also wrong to raise an action to the level of a human right.
“Human rights and rights are different. Human rights have no values while rights have values,” he told The Star.