CAR­TELS BE­HIND RIS­ING CASES OF

Lack of jobs leaves most of the youth idle and many end up fall­ing prey to the lure of fast cash from syn­di­cates pro­mot­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.

The Star (Kenya) - - Big Read / Homosexuality - MKAMBURI MWAWASI @Mkam­buriM

“WE CAME FROM POOR FAM­I­LIES AND SO EV­ERY DAY WAS A STRUG­GLE. SO WHEN THE OP­POR­TU­NITY CAME TO MAKE SOME MONEY, I DID NOT THINK TWICE. MY FIRST CLIENT PAID ME SH5,000” - MUSA*

The ram­pant growth of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in Kwale county is af­fect­ing school go­ing chil­dren and the youth.

As a re­sult, nom­i­nated MCA Fa­tuma Nchizumo tabled a bill in the county as­sem­bly to pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren from is­sues of early sex and ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.

The Kwale Anti Porno­graphic Bill is aimed at reign­ing in both lo­cals and for­eign­ers from use of chil­dren to sat­isfy their sex­ual urges hence spoil­ing their chances to fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion.

Nchizumo had tabled the bill in 2015, but has re­vealed that county as­sem­bly speaker Sammy Ruwa had handed the bill to the chil­dren com­mit­tee for amend­ment and later pass it to the as­sem­bly for the third read­ing. Re­cently, the bill was pre­sented to the peo­ple of Kwale County for pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion and was re­ceived very well and elicited a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back.

Nchizumo ar­gued that if the trend is not dealt with ur­gently and left to con­tinue in Diani, it will deny chil­dren their child­hood and fu­ture es­pe­cially as it re­lates to re­la­tion­ships and mar­riage.

“We need tourism but not sex tourism. Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and train­ing of young boys to for­eign ori­en­ta­tion is some­thing lead­ers should not tol­er­ate at all,” she said.

Nchizumo ex­plained that the bill will re­strict ho­mo­sex­u­als from open dis­play of af­fec­tion since re­li­gion does not sup­port same sex mar­riages or re­la­tion­ships.

In Fe­bru­ary 2015, Kwale county as­sem­bly ad­journed nor­mal sit­ting to dis­cuss is­sues of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity tak­ing place in Diani. The mo­tion was moved by nom­i­nated MCA Michael Mu­tua and sup­ported by all mem­bers.

Mu­tua said young peo­ple were be­ing re­cruited into ho­mo­sex­ual be­hav­iours by car­tels who are mostly for­eign­ers. He added that the na­ture of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is dan­ger­ous be­cause re­cruited vic­tims keep en­gag­ing in the vice all the time.

“Many of them are not even us­ing any type of pro­tec­tion and it is dan­ger­ous if any one of them is in­fected with HIV. It will spread and the ef­forts put by the na­tional and county gov­ern­ments to re­duce HIV preva­lence will all be in vain,” Mu­tua said.

Kase­meni) MCA An­thony Yama said that Ukunda de­pends on tourism but it has de­clined in re­cent years. “The lack of jobs in ho­tels leaves most of the youth idle and you know what they say about be­ing idle. Most of them end up fall­ing prey to the lure of car­tels pro­mot­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.

Nom­i­nated MCA Suleiman Nzala claimed that re­cruiters pocket more than Sh10,000 from each vic­tim who are paid a mea­gre Sh1000 af­ter the act. To them, this is bet­ter than starv­ing and have no means what­so­ever to sup­port them­selves and their fam­i­lies.

RE­CRUITED BY A FRIEND

Musa*, 24, re­veals he has al­ways been at­tracted to men since he was a teenager. “Grow­ing up in Diani, I al­ways felt dif­fer­ent from my peers as I was never in­ter­ested in women and had a more fem­i­nine na­ture. While I did not ac­tively go look­ing to en­gage in ho­mo­sex­ual be­hav­iour, I read­ily agreed as cu­rios­ity got the bet­ter of me, and the money was good,” he says.

He re­counts how he was in­tro­duced to the vice by a fel­low peer who had con­fided in him about his sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. We were young (about 18 years), fresh out of high school and jobs were not forth­com­ing. We came from poor fam­i­lies and so ev­ery day was a strug­gle. So when the op­por­tu­nity came to make some money, I did not think twice. My first time was hard. I had never had sex and so I fum­bled a lot. My ‘client’ was a mid­dle aged man who was to pay me Sh5,000 for the night. I was to give my friend half of this as ‘fa­cil­i­ta­tion fee’. Easy money or so I thought.

Musa wears a for­lorn face as he re­mem­bers a bad ex­pe­ri­ence that made him al­most quit. He had been booked by an old man who was to pay Sh15,000 for the night. “We met up in his ho­tel room, agreed on the price and got started. He did things with ob­jects that I can­not even talk about and did not pay me. He or­dered me out of the room or he was go­ing to call se­cu­rity.”

What was I to do? Un­like a fe­male pros­ti­tute who can make noise and de­mand pay­ment, ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is il­le­gal in Kenya. Would I be as­sisted or find my­self in jail? I had no choice but to leave. It has made me vet my clients more keenly. What about pro­tec­tion? Not us­ing pro­tec­tion means a high amount of money will be paid. Yes, it is risky for me but money is more im­por­tant to me. “Ni Mungu tu!”, he whis­pers.

Lead­ers have blamed cer­tain tourists in Diani for re­cruit­ing young boys into gay syn­di­cates shoot­ing porno­graphic movies. Re­cently, tourist stake­hold­ers, civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions and politi­cians asked the state se­cu­rity to ar­rest and bring to book the peo­ple be­hind the syn­di­cate.

Sev­eral youths aged be­tween 14 to 25 years, some ru­moured to be sons of prom­i­nent politi­cians in Kil­ifi and re­li­gious lead­ers in the Coast re­gion, are said to have been re­cruited into the syn­di­cate.

Msamb­weni Hu­man Right Watch co­or­di­na­tor Mah­moud Bar­roh, Sands

Kwale nom­i­nated MCA Fa­tuma Nchizumo with Taveta MP Naomi Sha­ban dur­ing the elec­tion pe­ti­tion case chal­leng­ing her win at Mom­basa High Court on June 27, 2013 / NOR­BERT ALLAN

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