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Kenya's first gay political candidate reveals why he quit race

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The Guardian
|
December 26, 2012
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It was a brave campaign against the odds that will not have a Hollywood ending. But David Kuria, forced to withdraw from elections in Kenya, has already smashed barriers as the country's first openly gay politician. Kuria dismayed his supporters when he announced that he could not finish the senate race because of a lack of funds to cover logistics and his personal security. He had received threatening text messages saying he would bring "a curse to the land". Yet, while he lost the battle, Kuria has won praise for moving the needle in a country in which homosexuality is illegal and, the UN noted last year, "largely considered to be taboo and repugnant to [the] cultural values and morality". The 40-year-old was the first openly gay black person in Africa to run for political office outside South Africa, according to the Kaleidoscope Trust, a non-profit organisation defending international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. In the end, his push for the senate seat in Kiambu county, near the capital, Nairobi, never reached a critical mass. Declaring his withdrawal in late November, Kuria explained that his online fundraising campaign had achieved only about 4% of its target.