I have been a lifelong admirer of Prime Minister Raila Odinga from his days as a human rights and pro-democracy activist. This is a man who has the scars that bear testament to the brutality and injustices of Moi’s repressive regime when he was ordered detained for years without trial. Raila has been feted home and abroad as a champion of causes that affect the marginalized and the neglected. Only a few weeks ago- I think it was during Mashujaa Day - he spoke convincingly of a New Kenya where citizens’ private lives would be free from the control of the State and we cheered him on because we thought here is a politician with depth.
That’s why the PM’s recent Kamukunji edict that police should arrest gays comes as a huge shock. Raila now risks being unmasked as a shameless circus-performer whose only ambition is to become at best a benevolent tyrant if he ever sees the presidency. He campaigned, as did many gay Kenyans, for a new constitution to enshrine individual rights and liberties but in essence he would rather reform our Police into a Gestapo-style organization snooping around its citizens’ bedrooms.
Therefore can the Prime Minister also issue a statement to clarify just how police are to identify homosexuals before arresting them? Will it now be an offence for two men to be enjoying a quiet drink together if none of them is married? Will police now patrol the estates in vans festooned with ‘Government of Kenya Rectal Exam Unit’? And if one is identified as homosexual will he be sent to the Kenyan colony on Mars since homosexuality is considered ‘unAfrican’ and 'unnatural'? I seriously want to put this whole saga to one side and accept it as just cheap politics and playing to the gallery in the week we heard about drug-trafficking government officials but I still can’t help thinking it is unethical conduct and most unbecoming of the office of Prime Minister.
A big monumental letdown. Why Raila, why did you do it?