Abortion, gay marriage lit up running mates debate

The running mates of the presidential candidates take part in a debate ahead of the March 4 General Election February 14, 2013. The Jubilee alliance running mate William Ruto said he was ready to declare his wealth. STEPHEN MUDIARI
By JEREMIAH KIPLANG’AT jkiplangat@ke.nationmedia.com  ( email the author)

Posted  Friday, February 15  2013 at  15:18

Discussion on same sex marriages and abortion during the deputy presidential debate brought to the fore two contentious subjects that have been ignored in the current campaign.

The running mates were asked to declare their stand on the two contentious topics. All of them said they are anti-gay and pro-life

“It is a no no no for me personally and it is the same stand our party has adopted,” said Ms Winnie Kaburu, the Restore and Build Kenya deputy candidate when asked to give her take on abortion.

“It is murder, murder, murder” she emphasised adding that allowing it “would amount to an abuse of the woman’s body.”

Jubilee Alliance’s Mr Wiliam Ruto declared abortion “unconstitutional” saying it should not be allowed at all.

“There should not be grey areas when it comes to the killing of the child. Abortion is unconstitutional,” said Mr Ruto said during the first debate for the deputy candidates held at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on Thursday night.

Abortion largely informed the ‘NO’ side that opposed adoption of the new constitution in 2010 and Mr Ruto, who was the leading figure, said his thoughts had not changed on the issue.

He compared same sex relationships to prostitution and that they "needs to be dealt with.”

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said he personally believed that “life begins at conception,” but said he was in agreement with the constitutional provision that allowed trained health professionals to perform abortion if the life of the mother is in danger.

Article 26(4) of the constitution says: “Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.”

Eagle Alliance’s Ronald Osumba however faulted the provision, arguing that there was a need to clear the air on “who was allowed to make the call when abortion becomes necessary."

Mr Osumba said sex is meant for pro-creation and lamented at how abortion has become rampant in Kenya.

Safina’s Shem Ochudho said sex is not for pleasure but pro-creation.

Other candidates who participated in the debate were Alliance for Real Change Kenya Joshua Odongo, Amani coalition’s Jeremiah Kioni and Narc-Kenya’s Augustine Lotodo.

They all spoke against gay marriage and abortion.

Other than the contentious topics, the participants also exchanged views on education, food security, corruption and their readiness to concede defeat after the March 4 elections.

The debate organisers also sought to know if the leaders gave tithe to their churches.

Mr Odongo, a teacher by profession like his presidential mate Mr Mohammed Dida, said he did not tithe. He explained that he has no stable income and therefore not in a position to.

Others said they regularly tithe, with Mr Musyoka saying he did not like stating publicly about it.

The debate was organised by christian media stations together with Daystar University and was aired on 48 radio stations and on KBC TV. They will also hold a similar debate for the presidential aspirants next Tuesday.

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