Human rights activists in Kenya have united to decry hate speech used yesterday by candidate William Ruto during Kenya’s deputy presidential debate.
Quoting inaccurately from the Bible (Rev. 22:15), Ruto said that the Bible equates homosexuals with dogs. He said (at 13:30 on this video of the debate):
“…if you read the Bible clearly, it equates homosexuals with a very derogated animal called dogs. They are in the same school according to the Bible.”
“Careless utterances by politicians can cause a world of harm to innocent citizenry,” replied a press release from the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and Identity Kenya.
They noted that people in Rwanda were called “cockroaches” shortly before the 1994 genocide there.
“The LGBTI Community appeals to the people of Kenya to have a peaceful election without dehumanizing anyone for who they are,” they said.
This is the full press release:
RE: Hate Speech in the Deputy Presidential Debate
During the Deputy Presidential Debate on 14th February 2013, honorable William Samoei Ruto said, “…if you read the bible clearly, it equates homosexuals with a very derogated(?) animal called dogs. They are in the same school according to the bible.” While this can be said to be the man’s personal opinion, he put it on record a few minutes before that statement that what he was saying was Jubilee Alliance’s position
on the matter in question. It however is not a quote from the bible. Mr. Ruto gave the public his interpretation of the bible. His interpretation of the bible then served the purpose of dehumanizing a section of the society.
His statement, albeit coming from (his interpretation of) the bible, brings to mind the situation in Rwanda where a section of the population was referred to as “cockroaches”. Referred to thus to dehumanize and make the rest of the society shun them leading to a genocide of epic proportions. While in no way comparing the plight of the LGBTI Community in Kenya with that of the Tutsis of Rwanda, we are simply trying to show how careless utterances by politicians can cause a world of harm to innocent citizenry. The same has been witnessed before when media publications or political utterances have created a state of insecurity for LGBTI Kenyans.
The constitution says that the rights and fundamental freedoms in the bill of rights belong to every individual and are not granted by the State. That said, any government that is put in place after the March 4th election will be given the obligation to promote and protect human rights for all. This is regardless of a person’s race, tribe, even sexual orientation. Homosexual persons are Kenyan regardless of their sexual orientation and deserve to be protected.
The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya on behalf of the LGBTI community in Kenya hereby condemn William Ruto’s comparison of homosexuals to dogs. This is dehumanizing, it is in his own words very derogatory and is a statement we do not expect of a leader. Just as we are fighting tribalism, let us fight for minority protection. Let us all get off
the high moral platform and in this election period, look at our fellow Kenyans as just that. Fellow Kenyans. Not Sabaot, Luo, Meru, Gay, Lesbian,Christian, Muslim, Man or Woman but as fellow Kenyans. The LGBTI Community appeals to the people of Kenya to have a peaceful election without dehumanizing anyone for who they are.
Before we were Luhya, Somali, Republican, Corded, Gay, Political, Religious, Eagled…..We were Kenyan, we were different and united in our differences. Let no one sunder us.
Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya
National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
- Ruto must be careful what he says (otienoolunga.wordpress.com)
- Video:Ruto’s stand on homosexuals,equate them to dogs in debate (Diaspora Messenger)
- Abortion, gay marriages top deputy presidential debate (Gay Kenya Trust)
- With Skype, LGBTs’ families will share across national borders (76crimes.com)
- Gay rights in Africa: Tell of successes in the struggle (76crimes.com)
In Kenya, a tentative step away from homophobia (76crimes.com)