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What the law says on sex with cousins amidst Kabi wa Jesus scandal, and Edwin Sifuna’s take


This week has been buzzing with a major revelation from Kabi wa Jesus.


The popular YouTuber finally came out to admit to not only having been engaged in a sexual affair with his cousin, but also having a child with her.

 


Although this came as a shock to many of his fans, it is not entirely foreign to the legal area. It is something that has been clearly ruled on a while back, and a study of the ruling will reveal whether or not Kabi should be expecting a call from the DCI, or DPP Noordin Haji soon.

 

Back in 2016, a matter was brought before Judge J.A Makau. It was an appeal by a man sentenced to 10 years for incest and defilement.


The man is said to have defiled his 16-year-old paternal first cousin.


Judge J A Makau found that the law does not list first cousins among the relatives between whom intercourse is classified as incest under the law.

 

He thus ruled that it is permissible to have sex with a cousin because in some cultures in Kenya, such as some Hindus and Muslims and some African communities, sexual acts with cousins are not criminalised.

 


In his judgement, Makau cited Section 20 ( 1 ) and 22 ( 1 ) ( 2 ) of the Sexual Offences Act.


He added that parliament intentionally and with good purpose excluded relationships between cousins.


“My understanding of the said Section 20 ( 1 ) is that if any sexual act takes place between two cousins, that does not amount to incest within the meaning of the provisions of Sexual Offences Act,” the judge said.

 


Edwin Sifuna who has also commented on the issue, is however, of a different view. He believes that while there’s no law that prohibits such relations, still, there’s no law that allows it.

 


Sifuna said the section that prohibited incest by listing all relatives and leaving out the cousin was intentional.
”Section 20(1) and (2) of the Sexual Offences Act that provides for the offence of incest does not list a cousin…this was because some communities or religions allow marriage between cousins,” the lawyer said.

 


“Those supporting the acts are looking at it from the wrong end. The law does not allow sex or sexual acts between cousins.”

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Written by Joshua Wanga

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