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'Homosexuality Is As Serious As Terrorism', Declares Kenyan MP Aden Duale

28/03/2014 11:06 GMT | Updated 28/03/2014 11:59 GMT

A Kenyan MP has compared homosexuality to terrorism and demanded it be tackled with the same vigour.

But Aden Duale, who is the majority leader of the National Assembly, stopped short of calling for harsher penalties, Kenya's Capital News reports.

Duale was speaking in parliament on Wednesday where he read out a statement by the Internal Security Ministry which said 595 cases of homosexuality had been successfully prosecuted since 2010.

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Kenyan gays and lesbians support their cause outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi in February

"We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism. It's as a serious as terrorism. It's as serious as any other social evil," he said.

He added: "I am sure that if our religious leaders are watching me, that is where we should start. We should preach against this and preach the holy books, the leaders have a role to do civic education."

But when legislator Alois Lentoimaga asked: "Can't we just be brave enough, seeing that we are a sovereign state, and outlaw gayism and lesbianism, the way Uganda has done?", Duale insisted the Kenyan constitution already has sufficient anti-gay provisions.

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He told Reuters: "We do not need to go the Uganda way, we have the constitution and the penal code to deal with homosexuality, and so this debate is finished, we will not be enacting any new tougher laws."

Kenya's penal code says any person "who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" is guilty of a felony and can be jailed for 14 years.

Last month the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill that criminalises homosexuality.

The new law will punish people convicted of having gay sex with jail terms up to life. It also makes it a crime not to report gay people - effectively making it impossible to live as openly gay in Uganda.