Kaya elders say no to homosexuality as debate over population conference rages

United Nations-backed conference to take place in Nairobi this week

In Summary

• Patron Julius Saha said African traditions must be respected and strictly adhered to.

• He said despite urbanisation, most communities in Kenya still practice their cultural traditions and that should remain the same.

Mijikenda Council of Kaya Elders chairman Abdalla Mnyenze and fellow kaya elders at Kaya Kinondo on Saturday.
STRAIGHT Mijikenda Council of Kaya Elders chairman Abdalla Mnyenze and fellow kaya elders at Kaya Kinondo on Saturday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Kaya elders have joined the debate on the upcoming population conference, which politicians and clergy have alleged is a forum to promote homosexuality.

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25), due to start on  Thursday has been organised by the Kenyan and Danish governments, with the backing from the United Nations Population Fund.

However, politicians, religious leaders and now the Kaya elders say the forum is designed to introduce Western ideologies to erode African cultural practices.

“We have our own traditions that we value and homosexuality is not one of them. We cannot have someone take a fellow man and make him his wife. It will attract curses to our society,” Mijikenda Council of Kaya Elders chairman Abdalla Mnyenze said.

Patron Julius Saha said African traditions must be respected and strictly adhered to.

He said despite urbanisation, most communities in Kenya still practice their cultural traditions and that should remain.

“We have kept the respect for traditions almost sacred. Eroding them now with Western ideologies is something that may lead the country to destruction,” Saha said.

The elders spoke at Kaya Kindondo in Msambweni, Kwale county on Saturday after conducting special prayers against corruption in the country.

Efforts by organisers of the conference to demystify the conference have not yielded much.

National Council for Population and Development director general Josephine Mbae said the meeting is only a way of inquiring into how far the country has gone in meeting objectives it created in the last similar conference held in Cairo, Egypt.

Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda said legislators did not take time to understand the objectives of the conference.

“They became emotional and missed the whole point. There is not going to be any discussion about homosexuality in Parliament,” said Ochanda.

MPs are against the conference, saying the West wants to use the Kenyan Parliament to promote their homosexuality ideologies.

Some sessions of the meeting are set for the chambers of the Parliament because there will be MPs from Denmark.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government will agree with organisers of ICPD25 on some issues, such as the need to end female genital mutilation and but Kenyans will not accept deliberations on matters contrary to African culture.

“Next week, we have visitors here who will discuss varied topics. We shall agree on issues of fighting gender-based violence and FGM, but if they bring issues against our African culture then we shall not agree with them,” President Kenyatta said at State House Nairobi.