Doing Wrong Right

Kenya has a long, glorious history of doing the wrong thing right.

Through the 1980s, as artists, intellectuals, and activists were tortured, detained, imprisoned, and exiled, many praised Kenya’s political stability. This despite evidence, vast evidence, of human rights abuses. Western-based politicians, policy makers, and intellectuals claimed Kenya was a model of a successful African country. Academic and popular articles from this period are really quite stunning.

When we got rid of Moi (which begs the question of why he is still around) and retained Moi-ism, we were praised for our peaceful transition. We were a model of how to do things right.

Remove the poison-injecting bee but retain its venom-pumping stinger.

When, following the botched 2007 elections, we came up with our hybrid monster of a government, bloated, inefficient, inept, and corrupt, we were praised for solving a problem. We became a new model of how to solve differences.

And now, modeling in blood red and skeleton white, the new way to run African governments. Blend the old and (plastic-surgeoned) old!

Kenya: we keep getting gold stars without even trying!

Our new draft constitution has effectively halted queer activism. Trans and intersex individuals do not exist. The only relationships that can be recognized by the law are heterosexual. Though we have protected the diversity of heterosexual arrangements, and this is good. Yes, I’ve written about this before, and fairly recently. I repeat it for a reason.

We have succeeded where Uganda, Nigeria, and Malawi have failed. We have enacted solid, anti-queer legislation, and no one in the world said a word. No videos, unlike the Martin Ssempa ones; no outcries, unlike in the Malawi case; no online activism, unlike in the Nigeria case.

We do homophobia with style. Without getting caught.

Kenya: We Do Wrong Right!

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