By Robert Mutahi
Ezekiel Mutua, he of Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) is a household name, loved and loathed in equal measures in different quarters.
The media describes him as the self-appointed moral cop, self-appointed because his actions are in excess of what is his job definition, according to his critics.
In the recent days, Kenya has come under scrutiny on its standing and position regarding the LGBTQ community, thanks to Dr.Mutua’s efforts. Banning of the Lesbian Themed Film,”Rafiki” directed by a Kenyan Director Kanuri Waruru has attracted a lot of condemnation and ridicule. This comes just a few days after President Kenyatta terming the issue of gay rights as a “non-issue”.
Dr. Ezekiel Mutua is a public officer, holding a public office in public trust and goodwill. Such a position and office is subject to the Kenyan Constitution 2010 and any occupant should work within the confinement of the supreme law. Any officer who feels that any principles do not fit into their personal believes and opinions, and in any case such a person cannot compromise, they have no alternative but depart from such an office.No public officer has the mandate and capacity to make their own laws or force the masses to consume their opinion or believes,nor has the powers to interfere with investments and practices of the masses outside the law.
The 2010 Constitution clearly states that any religious, cultural or any other law inconsistent with the constitution is null and void to such an extent. The same goes ahead to state that none shall be discriminated against on whatever basis. It is also within the supreme law that the international laws and statutes that Kenya is a signatory are recognized as part of our laws. Gay rights are internationally recognized human rights.
Ezekiel Mutua and KFCB are quoting morals,religion and several acts in banning rafiki and demonizing the LGBT community. In fact, they are avoiding the supreme law by all means. Morals as I have said before are movable goal posts dependent with taste and preference of the person advocating them.
Religious grounds can not substantiate such actions as exhibited by Dr.Mutua. Although Kenya is a religious country, it is home to different religions, different beliefs as well as non religious people. All the groups must be accommodated as equals in a functional society. In recognizing that,the constitution puts it in clear terms that there will be no state religion and that the state and religion will be two independent entities.
On protecting the children, it is right and legal to protect children from any negative material, be it gay or straight. However, you can only protect children by classifying the material as per age and ensuring specific children material has no adult content. You can not censure grown ups and their freedom of choice.
Dr. Mutua and KFCB as actors for the government should work to promote equal Human rights, by fighting homophobia and discrimination. They should also work to promote art and the film industry, not to censure it through blanket condemnation and self righteous character. Such, is the use of the law, not to promote lawlessness.
It is my hope that one day, we will view each other as humans with individual choices and not as choices we make. Public officers like Dr.Mutua will then promote humanity and love away from homophobia and hate.
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