On December 30th 2021, in Kisumu County, Education Cabinet Secretary said, “children who are homosexual and lesbian … must go to day schools close to their homes.” The CS stated that this move would “protect the greater majority of learners.” These remarks by a government representative are highly concerning, considering their intensely discriminatory and homophobic nature.
The Cabinet Secretary’s utterances are in utter violation of Article 10 (2b) of the Constitution of Kenya which holds among the National Values And Principles Of Governance “human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalised”; In addition to Article 27(4) that outlines “The State shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth.” He also infracts the word and spirit of several international treaties and declarations to which Kenya is a signatory. With his utterance, the CS proves that government players instigate homophobia which then creates an environment that allows for violence against members of the LGBTIQ+ community.
NGLHRC executive director said, “such statements demonstrate what we have been saying for years, that stigma, discrimination, and violence against the LGBTIQ+ community begins at a very early age fueling a myriad of long-term issues, including but not limited to deteriorating mental health.” The Education CS is a trained health professional with a wealth of information at his disposal and should be aware that sexual orientation is innate and immutable and him requiring that learners be treated differently on grounds of their sexuality is not only unconstitutional but unacceptable and has no place in a democratic state such as ours.
LGBTIQ+ Kenyans have hopes and aspirations just like other wanainchi. Like other Kenyans, we have the constitutionally guaranteed right to access rights and privileges assured us in the constitution. However, Kenya cannot achieve Socioeconomic progress if one group is continuously marginalised. If the government intends to meet its 2030 goals, make progress on the Big 4, and reach its Sustainable Development Goals landmarks, discrimination and exclusion of LGBTIQ+ persons, both systemic and otherwise, needs to come to an end. To LGBTIQ+ learners who have been the subject of this attack, we recognise that these utterances have brought much distress and sympathise and empathise with you. We give you our assurance that we are watching the situation and will continue holding the government accountable.