Don’t have sex with cousins, say Luo elders

Luo Council of Elders Chairman Opiyo Otondi speaks, during the installation of Odak Mbaka as Homa Bay county Chairman, at Nyabola village in Kasipul constituency, July 4, 2016. /ROBERT OMOLLO
Luo Council of Elders Chairman Opiyo Otondi speaks, during the installation of Odak Mbaka as Homa Bay county Chairman, at Nyabola village in Kasipul constituency, July 4, 2016. /ROBERT OMOLLO

The High Court ruling on sex between cousins is a threat to Kenya's cultures and society's moral fibre, the Luo Council of Elders has said. In a ruling on Tuesday, judge James Makau said the law does not list first cousins among the relatives between whom sex is classified as incest under the law.

But council chairman Opiyo Otondi said, “It is sinful to have people of the same blood engage in sex or get married. This is tantamount to the destruction of the moral fabrics of our society." He spoke to the Star on the phone on Thursday. Otondi said elders will not allow sex between cousins under their watch.

He said in the Luo culture it is an abomination for close relatives to marry or have sex. He said the court’s decision is misleading to communities and urged the Luo to ignore it.

Elder Nyandiko Ongadi said the court erred in making the decision. He urged members of the Luo community to remain true to their culture. “Every community in Kenya has its unique culture, the court cannot therefore direct how the people should live in the community,” Ongadi said.

“In our culture for example it is evil for brothers and sisters to have sex or marry in the same clan. There must be an emissary to oversee the negotiation process in the marital issues.”