Home blog The National: More Details Emerge in Anti-Gay Pogrom

The National: More Details Emerge in Anti-Gay Pogrom


Confirming last week’s speculation, KenyaImagine lays out in chilling detail how religious leaders in Mtwapa, Kenya organized and directed Friday’s anti-gay lynch mobs with support from local politicians and significant support from police, contradicting earlier reports that police were “saving” gay men from murderous mobs.

Seizing on a rumor spread by a barber, Christian and Muslim religious leaders spread word that a gay wedding was planned for Friday, February 12th, and Muslim preachers used Friday prayers services on the 7th to mobilize their congregations in an attempt to drive the local gay community out of town, using murder if necessary. Chillingly reminiscent of the Hutu Power radio stations during the Rwandan genocide, local and national radio stations picked up on the preachers’ calls, helping broadcast rumors of a wedding. One leader, named Faridi, led police and his followers to what is believed to have been a “safe house” for LGBT locals. Police broke in and arrested two men staying there while the mob ransacked their apartment. The mob leader claimed rings found in the possession of one of the supposedly gay men were proof that a wedding had been planed that day.

The same leader and his mob paid a visit to a local clinic that treats AIDS patients of all sexualities, helping the police arrest a staff member for wearing a t-shirt that promoted condom use. The clinic has since sent its staff home, and there is not word when it will re-open.

Elsewhere in town, mobs started beating men on the suspicion of being gay, or being supporters of LGBT people:

While all this was going on Omondi (not real name) a 23 year old security guard was alighting from a matatu [bus] heading towards the center when he saw a mob walking towards him. A woman on the street told him not to go that way and two young men walking by him told him he was going to die that day. Not knowing what was going on he immediately tried to run away but unfortunately it was too late and the mob caught up to him and beat him senseless. A female sex worker tried to protect him with her body and yelling at the crowd that they can’t just kill people like that and that he hadn’t done anything. The police arrived just in time to save his life since the mob had already dosed Omondi with kerosene and were about to burn him alive. Omondi was arrested and taken to Mtwapa police station bloody, dazed, and unsure what had just happened to him. The police did not offer any medical assistance and he was thrown into the cell.

While police intervened in this and other attempted lynchings, and drove a lynch mob away from the local police station with tear gas to protect the allegedly gay prisoners inside, KenyaImagine’s report leaves little doubt about their alliance with the religious leaders behind the pogrom. However, the Kenyan Human Rights Commission and LGBT activists are mobilizing a response, and are considering whether or not to bring charges against mob organizers.


D.C. – Reserve officers association drops its support for DADT. While the group stopped short of endorsing a repeal, it’s a move in the right direction, just like Dick Cheney’s support for a repeal. But, as AmericaBlog points out, the White House seems to be very unwilling to spend political capital on pushing a repeal through. (The Advocate, Joe.My.God, AmericaBlog)

New Mexico – A domestic partnership bill had its first hearing this morning in the state legislature. (Pam’s House Blend)

Rhode Island- Patrick Kennedy may be stepping down, but Providence’s openly gay mayor is stepping up in a bid to replace him. (AmericaBlog)

Correction: Last week, in my haste, I mis-identified Rep. Patrick Kennedy as a major backer of the House of Representatives’ DADT repeal legislation. While both are strong supporters of equality, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) is the man behind the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, not Patrick Kennedy. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.


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