The long wait, Kenyan Court adjourns suit on decriminalising gay sex

LGBT+ Kenyans the Right to Associate

The Kenyan High Court has adjourned its ruling on a suit that seeks to decriminalise homosexuality to May 23, 2019.

Judge present said the adjournment was as a result of administrative challenges and full dockets that made them unable to decide on the Repeal of section 162 case over decriminalizing gay sex.

Justice Chacha Mwita said, “We have had a few challenges, one of our colleagues is still on leave the other one is outside Nairobi while two of us are involved in other benches of more than three judges. It is not an easy task to bring the three of us together.”

“The ruling of #repeal162 has been postponed.😭😭😭 The bench has not finalized making their decision.  To say we are disappointed would be an understatement,” said the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), an independent human rights institution working for legal and policy reforms towards equality and full inclusion of sexual and gender minorities in Kenya.

In Kenya, gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years under Kenya’s colonial era penal code imposed in 1930, that criminalizes consensual same-sex adult relationships.

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

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

According to them, if the case is won, it would be, “A major step for equality and non-discrimination for all in Kenya. Should the case be won, we will continue working to ensure full compliance with the court ruling and working with stakeholders to expand protections on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.”

However, should the case be lost,

“We strongly believe that the constitution promotes human rights and equality for all, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”


In 2015, a three-judge bench of the High Court Rules that it was unconstitutional not to register  LGBTIQ human rights organisations.

2014, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission),  at its 55th Ordinary Session held in Luanda, Angola, adopted a resolution on protection against violence and other human rights violations against persons on the basis of their real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity.