Ezekiel Mutua Wins Court Battle Against Award-Winning Producer
6 May 2020
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) on Wednesday, April 29, won a court battle against Wanuri Kahiu, the producer of the award-winning film, Rafiki, who had challenged the ban of the film in September 2018.
The board had restricted the film on grounds that it promoted homosexuality, which remains illegal in the country.
"Rafiki Movie is restricted or banned due to its homosexual scenes that run counter to the law, culture and moral values of the people of Kenya and a clear intent to legitimise lesbianism in Kenya," the board stated.
The board argued that the movie contravened Article 45 of the Constitution of Kenya, which defined marriage as a union between persons of the opposite sex.
"The ruling today sends a strong message to content creators in Kenya. No homosexual films in Kenya. Any attempt to undermine the institution of family will be resisted with the force of the law," Mutua wrote on Twitter.
Wanuri had challenged the decision in court, arguing that she had the right of expression.
However, on Wednesday, in a court session conducted via Zoom video conference, Justice J.A Makau ruled there was no violation of freedom of expression in the ban of the movie.
Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, April 29, Wanuri expressed her disappointment at the decision and vowed that she would take her petition to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court if necessary.
"I think it is very important for us to define what freedom of expression means in Kenya as per our constitution. We are going to appeal. The ruling today is not a true reflection of what the constitution says," she told the publication.
Through the film, Wanuri highlighted the stigma faced and human rights violations associated with same-sex relationships in East Africa.
The term “Rafiki” means friend in Swahili. The film traces a coming-of-age love story between two young Kenyan women.
Their love and consequent romance unfold against a backdrop of homophobia even as their families are on opposing sides of the country’s political divide.
In August 2019, Rafiki won the Best Achievement in Editing and Best Film in an African Language at the Africa Movies Academy Awards 2019.