Thursday, November 09, 2017

Zeke is not an outlier

I don't know who had the great idea of Punk'ng Ezekiel Mutua, the major domo (pun very much intended, my Swahili-speaking friend) of the Kenya Film Classification Board, but they are geniuses and their bosses should give them a massive raise.

This past week, at the ungodly hour of 4:00 a.m. and perusing the still-at-140-characters of Twitter, I stumbled upon a Nairobi News link to a YouTube audio with our favourite Christian-censor-warrior-in-chief. Someone had the good sense to ask him what he thought of the gay lions in the Mara. As I understand it, some mzungu tourist doing his tourist-y thing saw two, full-mane lions, doing the nasty and decided to commit the event to digital memory. Needless to say, the pictures have gone viral. Then someone -- seriously, Nairobi News, that person needs a massive raise -- decided to call Good Ol' Zeke and seek his, uhmmm, opinion on the matter.

Of course Zeke wasn't diving head first into the whys and wherefores without confirming a few things. He needed to see the lions' "bio" to confirm that, indeed, they were lions and not overly hirsute lionesses. He was also quick enough to remind his interlocutor that "we don't regulate lions" but the "conduct of human beings" according to law. Then he suggested that some research was needed into the "phenomenon". Then he got into the substance of it all -- "on a lighter note", as he put it.

He found the actions of the lions "bizarre, totally bizarre" and "it is not normal". He declared with seeming zoological authority, I might add, that "the very nature of intimacy, even among animals, is between male and female". He suggested that the lions "ideally, they should be isolated" because "that is a phenomenon for scientific study". He reminded his interlocutor that he has "always argued that homosexuality has some demonic force behind it" and "demons even inhabit animals". In his very strong belief, the lions "are demon-possessed" and that the "demonic spirit inflicting humanity seems to have caught up with animals".

His advice was that we should "isolate the crazy gay animals, study their behaviour, they might require counselling, it could be something that we can arrest because it is not even normal among animals" because "very idea of sex, even among animals, is for procreation". He argued that "we have normalised abnormal behaviours to the extent that even animals are aping" completely missing the irony of using "aping" in this context. On being questioned how the lions would be counselled, Ol' Zeke had the perfect zinger: "probably they have been influenced by the gays who have been going to the game reserves or to the national park and behaving badly! Male and male, in the bush" completely missing the innuendo inherent in "in the bush".

Other than the Standard Three language (and reasoning) by Ol' Zeke, it is interesting to see how resilient long-discarded notions of homosexuality are in Kenya and how much sway they hold over senior public officers. In his mind, there are only two possibilities to gay lions: demon-possession or men behaving badly in the bush in sight of lions. These are his sincerely-held beliefs. Facts -- scientific facts -- are not as persuasive as these beliefs. If you are not horrified at the intellectual rigour that our censor-in-chief brings to public discourse and, it is presumed, public administration, then you don't know how scared you should be. It is time you started paying attention to these things because Ol' Zeke, funny as he is, is not an outlier. He has many senior colleagues. Some of them carry firearms.

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