Bil Browning

Kenyan Newspaper Cartoon Mocks Gay Rights

Filed By Bil Browning | November 10, 2011 10:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: African politics, British Aid, Cameroon, gay rights, Kenya

After British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to cut aid to nations that abuse their LGBT citizens, African nations have erupted in anger. They want their right to execute gays, dammit, and who does this Western nation who props up their economies to think they should have any ability to decide where their money goes?

Yesterday, The Kenya Star published this editorial cartoon mocking gay people and international pressure for basic human rights.


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Angela Brightfeather | November 10, 2011 11:22 AM

Brits usually do the proper thing, I think. It is to bad that the one person who I know who is half Kenyan, doesn't take a similarly strong stand and talk this over with other heads of state and encourage them to follow the British and act as civilized as they claim to be all the time.

We should start to write in to the Kenyan embassy and consulate about how we feel regarding their attitude problem. Try some of these addresses to start, and fire away.

General Info - [email protected]
Education - [email protected]
Immigration/Consular [email protected]
Commerce/Tourism - [email protected]
New York Consulate - [email protected]

After reading this post, I went and read a bunch of articles, editorials, and columns from online newspapers based in Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, etc.

It seems to have received as the latest example of Western neo-colonialism, or as another good example of why accepting foreign aid is a bad idea. There wasn't much discussion questioning homophobic laws.

Maybe the next time I'm feeling sorry for myself I could remember the less fortunate LGBT in countries where you get a 14 year prison sentence just for loving your boyfriend.

Justus Eisfeld Justus Eisfeld | November 11, 2011 7:45 AM

I feel that this statement may shed some light on the discussion:

For immediate release:

Statement of African social justice activists on the threats of the British government to “cut aid” to African countries that violate the rights of LGBTI people in Africa

We, the undersigned African social justice activists, working to advance societies that affirm peoples’ differences, choice and agency throughout Africa, express the following concerns about the use of aid conditionality as an incentive for increasing the protection of the rights of LGBTI people on the continent.


It was widely reported, earlier this month, that the British Government has threatened to cut aid to governments of “countries that persecute homosexuals” unless they stop punishing people in same-sex relationships. These threats follow similar decisions that have been taken by a number of other donor countries against countries such as Uganda and Malawi.  While the intention may well be to protect the rights of LGBTI people on the continent, the decision to cut aid disregards the role of the LGBTI and broader social justice movement on the continent and creates the real risk of a serious backlash against LGBTI people.


A vibrant social justice movement within African civil society is working to ensure the visibility of - and enjoyment of rights by - LGBTI people. This movement is made up of people from all walks of life, both identifying and non-identifying as part of the LGBTI community. It has been working through a number of strategies to entrench LGBTI issues into broader civil society issues, to shift the same-sex sexuality discourse from the morality debate to a human rights debate, and to build relationships with governments for greater protection of LGBTI people. These objectives cannot be met when donor countries threaten to withhold aid.


The imposition of donor sanctions may be one way of seeking to improve the human rights situation in a country but does not, in and of itself, result in the improved protection of the rights of LGBTI people. Donor sanctions are by their nature coercive and reinforce the disproportionate power dynamics between donor countries and recipients. They are often based on assumptions about African sexualities and the needs of African LGBTI people. They disregard the agency of African civil society movements and political leadership. They also tend, as has been evidenced in Malawi, to exacerbate the environment of intolerance in which political leadership scapegoat LGBTI people for donor sanctions in an attempt to retain and reinforce national state sovereignty.


Further, the sanctions sustain the divide between the LGBTI and the broader civil society movement. In a context of general human rights violations, where women are almost as vulnerable as LGBTI people, or where health and food security are not guaranteed for anyone, singling out LGBTI issues emphasizes the idea that LGBTI rights are special rights and hierarchically more important than other rights. It also supports the commonly held notion that homosexuality is ‘unAfrican’ and a western-sponsored ‘idea’ and that countries like the UK will only act when ‘their interests’ have been threatened.


An effective response to the violations of the rights of LBGTI people has to be more nuanced than the mere imposition of donor sanctions. The history of colonialism and sexuality cannot be overlooked when seeking solutions to this issue. The colonial legacy of the British Empire in the form of laws that criminalize same-sex sex continues to serve as the legal foundation for the persecution of LGBTI people throughout the Commonwealth. In seeking solutions to the multi-faceted violations facing LGBTI people across Africa, old approaches and ways of engaging our continent have to be stopped. New ways of engaging that have the protection of human rights at their core have to recognize the importance of consulting the affected.


Furthermore, aid cuts also affect LGBTI people. Aid received from donor countries is often used to fund education, health and broader development. LGBTI people are part of the social fabric, and thus part of the population that benefit from the funding. A cut in aid will have an impact on everyone, and more so on the populations that are already vulnerable and whose access to health and other services are already limited, such as LGBTI people.,

To adequately address the human rights of LGBTI people in Africa, the undersigned social justice activists call on the British government to:


·        Review its decision to cut aid to countries that do not protect LGBTI rights

·        Expand its aid to community based and lead LGBTI programmes aimed at fostering dialogue and tolerance.

·        Support national and regional human rights mechanisms to ensure the inclusiveness of LGBTI issues in their protective and promotional mandates

·       Support the entrenchment of LGBTI issues into broader social justice issues through the financing of community lead and nationally owned projects



Contact Persons


Joel Gustave Nana, (French and English)

Executive Director

African Men for Sexual Health and Rights

Tel: +27735045420,

[email protected]


Hakima Abbas

Executive Director


Email: [email protected]

Wanja Muguongo
UHAI- the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative
Tel: +254(020)2330050/ 8127535
[email protected]

Phumi Mtetwa

[email protected]

Sibongile Ndashe

[email protected]





1.    Organizations


ActionAid (Liberia)

African Men for Sexual Health and Rights – AMSHeR (Regional)

AIDS Legal Network (South Africa)

AIDS Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (Sub-regional)

ARC EN CIEL + (Cote d’Ivoire)

Arc en Ciel d’Afrique (Canada)

Centre for Popular Education and human Rights - CEPEHRG (Ghana)

Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana (Ghana)

Coalition of African Lesbians- CAL (Regional)

Engender (South Africa)

Evolve (Cameroon)

Face AIDS Ghana  (Ghana)

Fahamu (Regional)

Freedom and Roam Uganda (Uganda)

Gay and Lesbian of Zimbabwe – GALZ (Zimbabwe)

Horizons Community Association (Rwanda)

House of Rainbow Fellowship – (Nigeria)

ICHANGE CI (Cote d’Ivoire)

Identity Magazine (Kenya)

IGLHRC Africa (Regional)

Ishtar MSM (Kenya)

Justice for Gay Africans (Diaspora)

LEGABIBO (Botswana)

Let Good Be Told In us (LGBTI) Nyanza and Western coalition of Kenya (Kenya)

Most at Risk Populations’ Society In Uganda (UGANDA)

Mouvement pour les Libertes Individuelles - MOLI (Burundi)

My Rights (Rwanda)

Network against violence, abuse, discrimination and stigma-Africa (Regional)

Nyanza and Western LGBTI Coalition of Kenya (Kenya)

Other Sheep Afrika (Kenya)

Outright Namibia

Pan Africa ILGA (Regional)

PEMA Kenya

Queer African Youth Center Network QAYN – (Sub-regional – West Africa)

Rainbow Candle Light (Burundi)

Reseau Camerounais des Personnes Vivant avec le VIH – Recap+ (Cameroon)

Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme (Kenya)

Si Jeunesse Savait (Democratic Republic of Congo)

South African National AIDS Council – LGBT sector

Spectrum Uganda Initiatives – (Uganda)

Stay Alive Self Help Group (Kenya)

Stop Aids In Liberia

The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) - Nigeria

The International Center for Advocacy on the Rights to Health -ICARH (Nigeria)

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (South Africa)

Together for Women’s Rights ASBL (Burundi)

Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa)

Triangle Project (South Africa)

UHAI-the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative (Sub-regional -East Africa)

Vision Spring Initiatives

West African Treatment Action Group (Sub-regional – West Africa)

Women Working with Women (Kenya)

Youth Focus (Uganda)


2.    Individuals


Angus Parkinson (British Citizen, Kenyan Resident)

Anne Baraza (Kenya

Anthony Adero (Kenya)

Ayesha Imam (Nigeria)

Barbra Muruga (Kenya)

Bernedette Muthien (South Africa)

Blessed B Rwomushana(Uganda)

Blessol gathoni (Kenya)

Brian Kanyemba (Zimbabwe)

Carine Geoffrion (Ghana)

Carlos Idibouo (Cote d’Ivoire)

Charles Gueboguo (Cameroon)

Chesterfield Samba (Zimbabwe)

Christian Rumu – (Burundi)

Cynthia Ndikumana (Burundi)

Cyriaque Ako (Cote d’Ivoire)

Daniel Peter Onyango (Kenya)

Daniel Peter Onyango (Kenya)

Danilo da Silva (Mozambique)

Denis Nzioka (Kenya)

Desire Kavutse (Rwanda)

Douglas Masinde (Kenya)

Esther Adhiambo(Kenya)

Francoise Mukuku (DRC)

Friedel Dausab (Namibia)

Gabrielle Le Roux (South Africa)

Gathoni Blessol (Kenya)

Geogina Adhiambi (Kenya)

Hakima Abbas (UK/Egypt)

Hameeda Deedat (South Africa)

Happy Kinyili (Kenya)

Ifeany Orazulike  (Nigeria)

Jacqueline N Mulucha (Uganda)

Jane Bennett (Cape Town)

Jayne Annot (South Africa)

Jessica Horn (Uganda/UK)

Joel Gustave Nana – (Cameroon)

Johanna Kehler (South Africa)

Joseph Sewedo Akoro (Nigeria)

Julius Kaggwa (Uganda)

Julius Kyaruzi (Tanzania)

Kamariza Sandrine (Burundi)

Kasha Jacqueline (Uganda)

Keguro Macharia (Kenya)

Kene Esom (Nigeria)

Korto Williams – Liberia

Lillian Kwagala (Uganda)

Linda Baumann (Namibia)

Lourence Misedah (Kenya)

Mariam Armisen (Burkina Faso)

Marieme Helie-Lucas (Algeria)

Mia Nikasimo (African Diaspora)

Mmapaseka Steve Letsike (South Africa)

Mombo Ngua (Kenya)

Mwangi Forsyth-Githahu (Kenya)

Ndifuna Ukwazi (South Africa)

Ndikumana Pierre Celestin (Rwanda)

Ngozi Nwosu – Juba (Nigeria)

Nguru Karugu (Kenya)

Nicholas Mutisya Muema (Kenya)

Nicole Khanali (Kenya)

Olivier Irogo (Cameroon)

Paden Edmund (Tanzania)

Peter Wanyama (Kenya)

Phumi Mtetwa (South Africa)

Pouline kimani,Udada kenya

Prof J Oloka-Onyango (Uganda)

Prof Sylvia Tamale (Uganda)

Rena Otieno (Kenya)

Rowland Jide Macaulay (Nigeria)

Samuel Ganafa (Uganda)

Samuel Matsikure (Zimbabwe)

Sandrine Kamariza (Burundi)

Sibongile Ndashe (South Africa)

Sokari Ekine (Nigeria)

Solomon Wambua

Sserwanga James (Uganda)

Stanley Muiga Wangari (Kenya)

Steave Nemande (Cameroon)

Stephen McGill (Liberia)

Thomas Mukasa (Uganda)

Tony Gatore (Burundi)

Wanja Muguongo  (Kenya)

Wendy Isaack (South Africa)

Zawadi Nyong’o (Kenya)

Zeitun Mohamed Haret


When I saw the Kenyan newspaper cartoon over at JMG, I commented over there with a hastily drawn cartoon (which was partly inspired by the iconic "Stop Squirming" cartoon).

The idea that cutting aid to nations that persecute LGBT people might cause backlash against LGBT people only means that these nations are attempting to hold their own LGBT people as hostages. Despicable.

One suggestion I saw over at JMG was that the more civilized nations with immigration quotas might want to consider altering their immigration quotas from these countries to bump LGBT applicants to the head of the list without otherwise increasing the number and making asylum grants easier.

If the US would adopt such a policy, it woulf breathe some truth back into the immortal words of Emma Lazarus' poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-Emma Lazarus, 1883