Kenyan authorities ban new Rafiki movie

A movie about love between two women has been banned in Kenya, ahead of its premiere at international film festival Cannes.

Kenya’s Film and Classification Board (KFCB) said Thursday “Rafiki” was banned because of intent to “promote lesbianism,” in the country.
“The film has been restricted due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law,” a statement from the board said
It added that the film should not be distributed or shown anywhere in the country and anyone found with a copy would be in breach of the law.
Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, who directed the movie, took to Twitter to express her disappointment, saying,”We believe adult Kenyans are mature and discerning enough to watch local content but their right has been denied.
“Rafiki” is Kenya’s first LGBT-themed movie and makes history as the first Kenyan movie to premiere at Cannes, with its debut appearance next month.
Inspired by the 2007 Caine Prize winning short story “Jambula Tree” by Ugandan writer Monica Arac Nyeko, “Rafiki” which means ‘friend’ in Swahili is the story of friendship and tender love that grows between two young women amidst family and political pressures.

Why was “Rafiki” banned?

The board said “Rafiki” was banned because it had homosexual scenes and undertones which were not in the script originally submitted for approval.
It had called the director when the movie was finally submitted and asked for some homosexual scenes to be removed, however the director refused.
The KFCB said in the statement that foreign sponsors who intend to introduce and normalize homosexuality in Kenya through movies should desist from such acts.
“Kenya is a country with a culture, beliefs and shared values which must be respected,” it said.
“Hare-brained schemes by foreigners funding film producers in Kenya to promote homosexuality in the name of equality and inclusion will be exposed and strongly resisted.”
The ban has sparked quite a number of reactions on social media. The film’s supporters lashed out at the film board for “restricting” the movie.
“This idea of ‘we do this for the children’ has been used all across history to yank away rights from people. What happened to freedom of expression?” Brian Kelwon said on Twitter.
But some Kenyans have expressed support for the ban, saying the film board did the right thing to preserve the culture and traditional values of the country.
“If the movie’s content will promote and encourage our youth into homosexuality then it should be banned,” said Kennedy Onkoba.
KFCB has banned some movies in the past.
In 2014, it banned the Oscar-winning “Wolf of Wall Street” for extreme scenes of nudity, sex, alcohol, drug-taking and profanity.
It also forced Coca-Cola to scrap a kissing scene in an ad because it “violated family values.”

Gay men publically flogged in conservative Aceh in Indonesia

Religious police in Indonesia publicly caned two men Tuesday for having consensual gay sex.

The men received more than 80 lashes each, inflicted by hooded men inside a mosque in the city of Banda Aceh as hundreds of people watched, many of them recording the scene on mobile phones.

“The convicts will be returned to their family after being caned publicly as the caning is considered a social sanction,” Yusnardi, head of the Sharia police force in the conservative province of Aceh, told reporters. “Hopefully it will be a deterrent for people not to do anything against Islamic law”.

“Flogging sentences and the criminalization of same sex relations are both flagrant violations of international human rights law,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said. “The international community must put pressure on Indonesia to create a safer environment for the LGBTI community before the situation deteriorates further. Nobody should be punished for consensual sex.”

The two men were arrested in March after local residents who suspected they were gay broke into their rented room and found them having sex.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but Aceh, the most conservative province in the Muslim-majority country, introduced anti-homosexuality laws in 2014.

Tuesday’s public caning marked the first application of the law; however, hundreds were also caned for offenses including gambling, drinking alcohol, and women wearing tight clothing in 2016.




The sex education debate has been blown out of proportion – UNFPA

United Nations Population Fund –UNFPA Office in Uganda says teaching comprehensive sexual education in Uganda is not aimed at promoting homosexuality.

Dr. Akinyele Eric Dairo, the head of the UNFPA office in Uganda says the current debate on whether or not to teach sex education in school is healthy but adds that some of it has been blown out of proportion.

Dr. Dairo in an interview with Uganda Radio Network says young persons whether in schools or out of school have life-changing decisions to make about their sexual and reproductive health yet lack the knowledge required to make those decisions responsibly. This, he says, leaves them vulnerable to coercion, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy.

But providing sex education in schools in Uganda, like many African countries, has long been a war between those who demand limited exposure of sexuality information to teenagers and those who argue that they should be provided with comprehensive information on the complex topic.

There was a heated debate in Parliament three weeks ago following a motion urging the Ministry of Education to halt the roll-out of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools.

Almost all the Members of Parliament contributing to the debate said teaching comprehensive sexuality education to young people was likely to erode Uganda’s culture and also promote homosexuality.

Helen Grace Asamo, the MP representing Persons with Disabilities from Eastern Uganda, was one of those that expressed fear about comprehensive sexuality education. She says the old system of teaching sexuality education could still work.

Dr. Dairo who has been involved in promoting sexual and reproductive health rights and services for young persons and mothers in Uganda since the late nineties, says the purpose of sexuality education that is being introduced is yet to be understood by those opposing it.

From the late 1990, Uganda has been Sex education programs in schools stressing abstinence to teaching how to prevent HIV and STDs.

UNFPA and other advocates of sex education often point to the rate of teenage pregnancy as an example of how the current system is failing young people.

Studies are indicating that although Ugandan adolescents are now delaying (first) sexual intercourse more than before, the majority have become sexually active by the age of 18.

Ugandan girls start sexual intercourse at a younger age than boys: 15.5% of the girls have had sexual intercourse before the age of 15, rising to 64.2% by the age of 18, as compared to 12.2% and 49.9% of the boys.

Dr. Dairo says given the statistics, there is need to re-frame discussions around young parents and what that means in terms of what support, information and education they are being given to help build their self-esteem and resist coercion into sex.

In December 2013, health and education ministers and representatives from 20 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa affirmed a commitment supporting sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people.

The Ministers who included representatives from Uganda committed themselves to invest in quality education that includes comprehensive, life skills based sexuality education to fulfil the right to education whilst also contributing to the well-being and future quality of young people’s lives. The ministers agreed that the kind of sexuality education was to be culturally sensitive and age appropriate.

Attempts by Ministry of Education to integrate comprehensive sexuality education in the  school curriculum have met some resistance from parents and others who assert that sex education is contradicting Ugandan cultural norms.

The Ministry of Education with support from UNFPA has in collaboration with  National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) been trying to integrate and eventually institutionalise comprehensive sexuality education in the secondary school curriculum.

The curriculum review process started in 2012 and will take a period of five years to culminate into a new secondary school curriculum by 2017. This is part of the key output of the 7th Government of Uganda and United Nations Population Fund Country Programme Action Plan under the theme “Choices for sexual and reproductive health lifestyles are increased.”

The NCDC in 2009 identified five subjects in the secondary school curriculum through which comprehensive sexuality education can be infused.

The subjects include Biology, Geography, English, Christian Religious Education and Islamic Religious Education.





IRCU call for a ban on reproduction sexual materials in schools

By Moses Kidandi

The Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) has urged the 10th parliament and government to ban the circulation of all reproduction sexual materials in schools.

The IRCU Council of President Co- Chair His Grace the Archbishop of Kampala Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga says sex education materials are spread in school libraries and taught to pupils with an objective of spreading homosexuality. He was speaking during the councils’ prayer breakfast meeting with the 10th parliament.

Archbishop Lwanga asked parliament and government to empower religious institutions in the fight against prostitution and passing anti abortion bill. In her remarks, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga encouraged religious leaders to continue with the fight against reproductive sex education saying they have already confiscated most of the books in schools.