Lesbian love movie director sues Kenya to lift ban on Rafiki

The director of the Rafiki movie that was banned in Kenya five months ago has filed a lawsuit seeking to lift the bar so it can be considered for an Oscars entry.

“Rafiki”, which means friend in the Swahili language, premiered at the Cannes film festival, the first Kenyan film to do so.

It is adapted from an award-winning short story “Jambula Tree” by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko.

To be eligible as Kenya’s entry under the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2019 Academy Awards, it must have been released in Kenya.

However, Kenya banned it in April on the grounds that it promotes lesbianism.. The deadline for a release in Kenya is Sept. 30.

Wanuri Kahiu, who directed Rafiki, lodged the suit against Kenya Film Classification Board chief Ezekiel Mutua and Attorney General Paul Kihara, the documents, seen by Reuters, show.

The board, which has to check scripts before filming begins, imposed the ban, saying on Twitter: “Anyone found in its possession will be in breach of law.”

This referred to a colonial-era law under which gay sex is punishable by 14 years in jail.