The first openly gay politician in Kenya will be seeking a senate seat in elections next year.
David Kuria, 38, will be aiming to represent his home county of Kiambu, close to the capital of Nairobi, in the March 2013 vote.
After passing a new constitution in 2010, Kenyans are seeking a new crop of leaders for the 49 counties that make up the African country.
In an interview with the Global Press Institute, Kuria said: ‘Most politicians in Kenya seek leadership positions so they can amass wealth for their families.
‘But as a single man who does not aspire to have a family, my sole mission will be to serve the people.’
If elected, his main agenda in the Senate would be to push for laws to fight HIV.
‘I want to be called the HIV senator,’ he says. ‘I believe it is possible to eradicate the scourge if the right laws are put in place.’
He says the decriminalization of homosexuality will be a big step toward winning the war against the virus. He would also strive to increase public health financing, as millions of Kenyans are pushed into poverty every year because of medical problems.
Kuria will have a difficult time running for the position, as homosexuality is a taboo in Kenya. Same-sex acts are a crime punishable by the state by up to 14 years imprisonment.
Denis Nzioka, activist and creator of Identity Kenya, told Gay Star News that it is not important if Kuria does not actually win the seat.
‘Coming from an activist point of view, his shot of trying the seat is far more ‘winning’ than actually winning the seat,’ he said. ‘Do I think he will win the seat? Probably not.’
He said people are not willing to vote for a gay candidate, and most have likely not read his portfolio and promises.
Nzioka added gay politicians have these issues worldwide, and often fail on the first time. For people like Harvey Milk, ‘it is not the winning that is crucial; it’s making a statement.’