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Dear Deputy President – William S. Ruto,

You are appointed to protect the freedoms of all Kenyans, as per our constitution. But on the 3rd of May 2015, you stood at the pulpit in front of hundreds and spoke of how you will stand with the religious leaders and defend ‘our faith and beliefs’. Now when you said ‘our faith and beliefs’, who did you include in that ‘our’? On whose behalf were you speaking? I know this is a no-brainer, you say. ‘Of course it’s us Christians,’ and I answer ‘Oh you mean us Christians who are given the power to judge and condemn the ones who are not like us just because we are the majority?’ By now I know you can sense a bit of sarcasm in this open letter but don’t go yet.

Because Mr. Deputy President, you maybe religious and you may even mean well, but you have, I guess, missed an important part, there are people who confess the Christian faith and are homosexuals. There are other homosexuals who may have dropped the faith part – and who would blame them? – but still come from good God fearing Christian families. Yet there are those that do not see a contradiction with their sexual orientation and their faith, especially not with this civilized religion. A religion that says love others as you love yourselves (-but not if they are gay!- you add.) A religion that says, protect the underprivileged, the weak and the poor – (but not if they are homosexual! -you repeat.) You and the religious leaders vow to condemn a group of Kenyans just because you do not understand what and how it is to be them. You and the leaders decide that people who happen to love differently, have no place in this beautiful country.

I will not be counted among those that carry your version of the Christian faith, the condemning version. In saying ‘our faith’, ‘our belief’ You do not speak for me, should not include me, and you should not include the millions of Kenyans you spite upon, who are homosexuals, have family members or friends that are homosexuals or who like me just believe in the famous ‘live and let live’ mantra. Unlike you I will stand with Kenyans, homosexual Kenyans or otherwise to defend their right to humanity and not just their religious beliefs.

Your statement is not unique, not in your choice of words, neither on the medium of transmitting it. It’s become only too casual to make homophobic comments, statements on blogs, newspapers, TV or just comments on Facebook pages. And even though some of us do not condone it, we assume the likes of Binyavanga Wainaina will write commentary about it, they are the ones who have a voice on this topic. I too am guilty of camplacency. I scream to anyone who is willing to listen on women issues, about black people, about children and even about religion when terrorists attack our country, but when it comes to raising my voice against homophobia I sit on my hands. I now realize it is as much my duty to act, to be proactive, to defend the rights of my fellow mwananchi against powerful religious institutions and powerful government leaders as anyone else’. I choose to be my brother’s and sister’s keeper, even with more urgency now when the ones to protect them are the very ones calling for their prosecution. Someone once said that when you hurt my fellow human, you take a piece of my own humanity with it. That is why we choose to put our heads in the sand, we choose to hide from the suffering of others because it eventually becomes our own.

Without getting too religious, I am grateful for our constitution that defends the rights of every Kenyan irrespective of race, creed, gender and dare I say their sexual preferences. In your comments Mr. DP, you added that homosexuality was against Christianity and human nature. You might have a better grasp on what Christianity entails than I do, but I can assure you that homosexuality is as much a human nature as heterosexuality is. These two ways of being are practised by humans. Live and let live.

Thank you for reading my opinion on the matter.

Sincerely,

Gathoni

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