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Gay rights backlash over Kenyan academic’s SA invite

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EFF leader Julius Malema says allowing different views makes for more exciting discourse

BBC

South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party is facing a backlash for its decision to invite a Kenyan academic to give a lecture in July at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Prof Patrick “PLO” Lumumba is alleged to hold homophobic views – and last month congratulated Uganda’s president for “defying Western countries and doing the right thing” by signing an anti-gay bill into law.

The lecture he has been asked to deliver is part of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the EFF party founded by firebrand politician Julius Malema.

It is scheduled to be held at UCT’s Sarah Baartman Hall.

Some UCT staff and students have demanded that he not be allowed to give the address there as his presence would signal the institution’s acceptance of his “homophobic stance”, local media report.

Other South Africans on social media have asked the EFF to withdraw the invitation.

However, the party is standing by its decision, with Mr Malema saying that “allowing different views makes a discourse even more exciting”.

The EFF had held demonstrations in April outside the Ugandan embassy in the capital, Pretoria, to express its opposition to the anti-homosexuality bill.

Uganda now has among the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world. South Africa’s constitution was the first in the world to protect people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

Prof Lumumba, 60, is a respected Kenyan lawyer, and was director of the Kenya School of Law for four years and before that had headed the now-defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission for a year.