Blow to Controversial Lesbian film, Rafiki as Court declines to lift Ban

Rafiki was banned in April 2018 by KFCB on basis that it promotes homosexuality

Wanuri Kahiu, the writer and director of the controversial lesbian film – Rafiki with cast members at the Cannes Festival

Popular Kenyan controversial lesbian film Rafiki has been dealt a blow, after Mombasa High Court Judge Eric Ogola dismissed a petition seeking to lift a ban imposed on the Film by Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) in April 2018.

The fresh petition to have the ban lifted in Kenya was filed by Michael Kioko, who argued that KFCB violated freedom of expression when it banned the distribution of the film.

"The petitioner is therefore seeking to declare unconstitutional what has been declared constitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction. I accept the submissions by the respondents that the petition herein is res judicata, with the consequence that it is struck out," ruled Judge Eric Ogola.

The film was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) in April 2018 on the basis that it promotes homosexuality, which is illegal in Kenya.

In April 2020, the High Court in Nairobi upheld the decision by KFCB to ban Rafiki film. In his judgement, Justice JA Makau ruled that the ban did not in anyway violate artistic freedom of expression but instead protects the society from moral decay.

Commenting on the new ruling, KFCB Boss Ezekiel Mutua said;

“While creatives are free to stretch the bounds of the freedom to reflect the changing landscape, their productions must adhere to the law. Any production that undermines the constitution, the law and societal norms or national security will be restricted”.

Rafiki a film that talks about a love story of two teenage girls who develop a romantic relationship, which is opposed by their families and community was directed by Wanuri Kahiu.

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