• Reuters

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Homosexuality in Kenya is as big a problem as terrorism, the ruling party’s parliamentary leader said, although he argued against stepping up legal sanctions on the grounds that existing laws are tough enough.

Aden Duale, the majority leader from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition, was responding to a group of legislators demanding tougher laws.

“Can’t we just be brave enough, seeing that we are a sovereign state, and outlaw ‘gayism’ and lesbianism, the way Uganda has done?” lawmaker Alois Lentoimaga asked Wednesday. Uganda has voted for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, prompting some international donors to suspend aid.

Duale, who speaks on behalf of the Kenyan government in the assembly, said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism.”

“It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other social evil,” he said, referring to a spate of attacks by al-Qaida-linked Somali Islamist militants in retaliation for Kenya’s intervention in neighboring Somalia.

But “we do not need to go the Uganda way — we have the constitution and the penal code to deal with homosexuality, and so this debate is finished,” Duale said later. Kenya’s penal code stipulates any person “who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” is guilty of a felony and can be jailed for 14 years.

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