Kenya's first gay candidate knuckles down for bruising battleBy DAILY NATION | Wednesday, September 19 2012 at 17:03
Kenya's first openly gay man to run for elective office says he hopes voters in the east African country will view him as an honest person.
Mr David Kuria is running for the senate seat in Kiambu County of central Kenya, one of several elective positions created by a new constitution passed in August 2010.
But in a country where attitudes towards homosexuals remain solidly conservative, he recognises that his sexual orientation will pose an extra challenge for the already competitive seat.
"People may not see beyond the issue of sexual orientation and listen to my agenda," he told the Daily Nation, the country's largest circulating newspaper.
He has gone against the advice of many to marry and hopes that the discrimination he has faced will allow him to better represent others in Kenyan society who are marginalised.
The 40-year-old, who holds a Masters in Business Administration, says he has developed a campaign message based on reforming laws and other barriers that prevent access to HIV services, and on fighting poverty.
He is presently the general manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK).
Kenyans online are already divided over his candidacy ahead of the March 4, 2013 poll.
"David Kuria should understand, first and foremost, that politics and honesty have absolutely nothing in common. Politics is about dishonesty, you need to begin from there," A blogger identified by his web handle of Rofi, wrote.
"We're still a conservative society," another blogger, Sang Kosi, noted.
Others are more encouraging. Said Joe Kitele: "Mr Kuria has every right to contest."
"Congratulations Mr Kuria for overcoming your fears by boldly coming out to contest for that seat...all the best, sincerely," said Ason.
And other readers remained on the fence.
"Since Mr Kuria has chosen to embrace gay life, he would just have to live with the social stigma the rest of his community that do not share his values in this regard may present to him. As long as he is not forbidden to campaign for his seat of interest, he should be content," Jean Obunde wrote.
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