Economic implications of passing anti-LGBTQ law
It all began in May when Members of the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum (KCPF) proposed a constitutional amendment process aimed at clarifying “ambiguities” in the Constitution that are allegedly being exploited to undermine and threaten our “moral and family values”.
Through their chair, Charles Kanjama, they pointed a finger at the ‘liberal foreign ideology” that is seeking to normalise Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) tendencies in the country.
The general feeling is that the Supreme Court’s ruling on February 24 affirming the right to form association of LGBTQ supporters has the effect of championing homosexuality. And now the proposed imprisonment extending to 50 years as proposed by Family Protection Bill through Peter Kaluma, Homa Bay Town MP, for non-consensual same-sex acts has revived the debate.
Let me point out socio-religious cum politico-economic implications of passing this Bill and what it will mean for Kenya if President William Ruto assents it into law. Since the proponents of this Bill are fronting a religious argument, it would be reasonable to assess the soundness of their justification. True, there are 26 Bible verses against homosexuality, the most commonly quoted ones being Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 that “it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as he would with a woman”.
But while the Bible is clear in this respect in its view of homosexuality, it is essential to remember that God loves all of his creation and offers forgiveness to those who repent and turn away from their sins.
The question then arises: does Linda Jamii Bill proposed by KCPF offer a comprehensive solution to the LGBTQ dilemma? It is my submission that it does not. Theirs is an incomplete and wanting solution, which attempts to treat the symptom instead of the cause.
So, what is the implications of this probably wrong prescription given by KCPF? Economically, Kenya depends a lot on foreign donors, especially the EU and USA, that give pre-conditions for continuous support on policy and resources. Support of LGBTQ is one of the conditions.
Now, the US provides an estimated $3 billion per year in tangible benefits to our eonomy and development. This includes both direct and indirect benefits from trade, foreign direct investment, revenue from American tourists, contributions from US-based NGOs in Kenya, private foundations, individual donors, and remittances from Kenyans working in the United States. This does not include the nearlyy $324 million that the US provided in humanitarian assistance in 2022 alone.
The EU and its Member States are the largest providers of development assistance to Kenya.
Under the Joint Cooperation Strategy 2018-22, $4.79 billion in combined development aid was allocated to support Kenya’s priorities, with an additional $15.96 million for humanitarian funding and $1.60 million for disaster preparedness. In July, IMF approved a loan of about $1 billion, and an additional $551 million to help in building resilience to climate change.
Given the economic matrix exposed above, the implication is that should President Ruto give assent to the Linda Jamii Bill, Kenya might lose about $3.324 from the US and $28.117 from EU. This excludes the cost of implementing the Bill which is estimated to cost about Sh11 billion. Moreover, the non-monetary cost such as negative effect on tourism due to negative perception towards Kenya by the international community will also come into play.
Therefore, it is my submission that President Ruto should sign this bill into law only if he has the ‘plan’ of where he is going to get the Sh4.186 trillion: Sh4.076 trillion for covering the loss and Sh11 billion for implementing the Bill.
— The writer is a Strategy and Governance expert