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Kenya's gay senator candidate withdraws from race

David Kuria announced he is to withdraw from the race to become a Senator in 2013, of Kenya’s Kiambu County
David Kuria said that lack of funding and security issues forced him to withdraw from the race to become an openly gay Senator in Kenya

David Kuria, said that lack of funding is the main reason he is withdrawing from the race to be elected as an openly gay Senator for Kiambu County, Kenya in 2013.

In a statement released on Monday (26 November), Kuria said ‘without adequate security and without resources to cover the logistics of holding meetings in Kiambu County’ he could not continue pursuing the seat.

‘It is with a heavy heart and great sorrow therefore that I wish to announce my withdrawal from the Kiambu County Senate Race

‘For those who supported my campaign - I will work on a formula for refunding you the money, because while we have already used it in the campaign efforts, you donated with the aim of us holding right up to the end.’

Speaking with Gay Star News Kuria said: ‘It was difficult to get funding to carry on with such a costly campaign.

‘In addition I received some threatening text messages, for example: “if anyone votes for me, he or she should die as I should” and so on.

‘Human rights organizations advised me to move out of where I live as I was fairly open about it.'

Kuria entered into talks with an organization that offers security but found that the expenses would be immense.

He has also been targeted previously by extreme right wing Christian group, Project SEE which called for his death.

‘Although I am sure such messages are from the fringe and do not represent the mainstream, they are very scary and I was faced with the choice of either to invest in security and move from where I live or withdraw from the race’, he told GSN.

‘All this has become very costly and stressful, and this is why I have chosen not to carry on.

‘I am disappointed and speaking with many of my supporters I get the feeling that their disappointment would be even greater.

‘So I will not be giving any further interviews and just keep quiet for the time being about the issue.’

Many supporters of Kuria are quoted in the portal Identity Kenya as expressing sorrow about the choice he had to make.

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay from House of Rainbow Fellowship said: ‘It is a disappointment for many LGBT people and … other marginalized communities.

'However, whatever the reasons are, whether private or public, Kuria will always have my support and prayers.’

Blogger and writer, Cole Mutahi, remarked, 'It is a sad day for the LGBTI community. Indeed he has proved that the community can bring up leaders.

‘I'm just sad he didn't have a very solid support system to make him stick to the very end. I think it's a viable decision and wish him well in subsequent endeavours.’

‘It is disheartening; we looked at him with a lot of admiration as a pioneer in the political arena, but again I would understand if the campaign in weighing on his personal life , but I also have to appreciate him that he tried and he made a political statement by standing in the first place,’ remarked Frank Mugisha, a Ugandan LGBT activist.

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