Same-sex Relations in Kenya is Illegal, Punishable by 14 Years in Jail

David Indeje is Khusoko’s Digital Editor, covering East African markets.
The Kenya Film Classification Board has banned I Am Samuel, a documentary about a gay Kenyan man’s struggle to be accepted by his family

Same-sex relations in Kenya remains illegal and punishable by 14 years in jail after the Kenyan High Court upheld its ban on Friday on a suit that sought to decriminalise homosexuality.

The judges noted that the consolidated petitions had no merits. “We hereby decline the relief sought and dismiss the combined petition,” Justice Roselyn Aburili said, relaying the unanimous opinion of the three-justice panel.

The judges further said that from a careful examination of the provisions of section 162 and 165 find that they did not violate the right to privacy and dignity. “Decriminalising the conduct in the sections would open a door to same-sex unions which would go directly against the spirit of Article 45 of the Constitution on marriage.”

The June 2016 petition sought to repeal sections 162 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal code which the petitioners state it is unconstitutional.

The court further found out that there was no evidence to support allegations that sexual minorities were discriminated against when accessing health care. “…petitioners failed to provide credible evidence to demonstrate that they had been discriminated.”

Njeri Gateru, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), in a statement, said such laws “Devastate people’s lives and have no place in a democratic Kenyan society. “


The petitioners include, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and the Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western Kenya Network (NYARWEK) together with interested parties filed petitions 150 and 234 of 2016 respectively at the high court.

Out of 54 countries in Africa, Kenya is one of the 36 that have criminalised homosexual behaviour or acts, four of which impose the death penalty (Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and Mauritania).

Kenya’s Penal Code pronounces carnal knowledge as an act against the order of nature and anyone guilty of carnal knowledge is liable to 14 years’ imprisonment.


David Indeje is Khusoko’s Digital Editor, covering East African markets.

In my role as Community Engagement Editor For Khusoko, I care about our audience. engaging them, getting news delivered to them across a variety of platforms, and expanding the diversity of voices on our website.

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