Denis Nzioka – A Man Of The People

Denis Nzioka by Jerry Riley

As the debate about sexuality and sexual rights in Kenya heats up, one personality is taking the discussion a step further as he vies for the country’s top position in the 2012 General election. Denis Nzioka is the PR and Media Communications officer for Gay Kenya as well as an avid blogger, writer and social commentator, and now Kenya’s first openly gay presidential candidate.

He started his career studying for the priesthood in a large Nairobi seminary, but while exploring questions within himself about his sexuality through his writing, blogging under the pen name Caritas Diablo, he found that he had a vocation within a vocation. Today he is one of the most vocal agitators for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed (LGBTI) rights in Kenya. Only a few months after the UNHRC adopted a resolution on violence and discrimination against LGBTI people for the first time in its history, Denis has chosen to stand for those same rights in the most public office of a region that is not known for its tolerance of alternative sexuality. “Running for political office is a matter of pushing the boundaries; it’s a litmus test for Kenyan society. Can we overlook the fact that he doesn’t have a wife and family and look at his agenda … elect someone who does not fit the stereotype of what a politician should be? Can we move from petty politics to look at the person and what they bring to the table?”

Denis Nzioka by Jerry Riley

From his humble beginnings at Martin Luther Primary School in Hamza Estate and later Aquinas Boy’s Secondary School, Denis, once touted as a high achiever, has continued to rise and today is being referred to as the most powerful gay man in Kenya. When asked why now, Denis responds in simple terms; “The gay community feels it’s time its issues were put on the forefront, and they’re keen to have representation, being openly gay is already a significant political statement.” The new Constitution enables all Kenyans access healthcare and ensures that they are free from discrimination violence. This includes people from the gay community. Denis’ platform in the next general election while presented on a unique platter seeks to serve the benefit of all Kenyans. His main election points are poverty eradication, access to education, and human rights. The new constitution will need to filter down to the common people and, if implemented in full, Kenya will change.

Denis Nzioka by Jerry Riley

Denis has no trouble reconciling religious views with sexuality: “Sexuality is an inborn trait – it’s God given. Discriminating against someone for it is like chopping off the hand of a left handed person. It’s not something that can be helped. I am not a gay who’s Kenyan, I am a Kenyan who’s gay – I do believe God works in weird and mysterious ways and if he can make a donkey talk he can make a man gay. “Why would anyone choose a lifestyle that is so discriminated against? We have to be open to diversity. We have to be open to the possibility that people will not always fit the social constraints and it’s not for us to judge them or to discriminate against them. The reason why our society has so many issues with homosexuals is not because our sexual activity directly affects them but because women are still considered to be inferior. For a man to take on the role of a woman is so degrading so humiliating – because women are still seen as second rate. The gay rights movement will only be successful if the women’s movement is successful because then people won’t equate femininity with something negative.”

Denis Nzioka by Jerry Riley

Speaking to a diverse youth, Denis advises that it’s time for the youth to take control of their society and that the only way to do that is by being proactive. “It is important that the youth make inroads in all these channels and take advantage of the opportunities that are afforded to them. By making a political block the you can come together and realize that they are the next people who will lead this county and that there is nothing they cannot do”. Denis states that for Kenya to progress the country needs to move away from all stereotypes as the stereotype becomes the quality by which you’re judged as a leader. We must own up to our mistakes. As a politician you must modify your behavior to up your credibility. “Be a visionary, don’t look at short term goals. Meet the people and sell your idea to them. Ask the people what it is they need. Changing peoples’ mentality and attitude takes years. Be that breath of fresh air! We can sell a different type of leader, one that is committed to this country.”

Comments

  1. David Frankham says:

    This is a first! He has my vote. Gay is the new black!

  2. So Denis Nzioka has been writing and blogging under the pen name Caritas Diablo and has vocation within a vocation? How come a google search for “Caritas Diablo” returns no results related to him or any of his so-called blogging?

  3. For the record i’m indifferent as to Denis’s sexuality.
    As a Kenyan voter, this guy has done nothing significant for the average person and he lacks national appeal. I’ll eat my shorts if he even gets to 100k votes.
    To the previous comment, calling x the new y trivialises such heavy issues affecting society.

  4. Well, he should not use his sexuality to push his agenda. Question is, what can he do for Kenya? I’d vote for him if he can convince me he’s worth my vote. I don’t care if he is gay or not

  5. Jus’ a question here: Does anyone come into this world with prior knowledge of his sexuality? I don’t think so! This is response to this – > Denis has no trouble reconciling religious views with sexuality: “Sexuality is an inborn trait – it’s God given.

  6. I really don’t care who sleeps with who, they’re not in my bed.
    Can he run a government? Is he a person of integrity? Does he have the country’s interests at heart, or is it a personal agenda? That’s what will determine my vote.
    Good luck!

  7. Brenda Sausage says:

    Seeing the TL and damn, hun, can you cause a stir! You are so famous! Now, those votes…. You have mine and my partner.

    Brenda Sausage
    Proud Kenyan Lesbian!

  8. aende apande miti kwanza…

  9. Now this is totally sick…GAY!!!!Never never never..and worst as president!!!!NEVER

  10. I’m not voting for any gay guy! We have enough issues in this country including morality. Trust me young man you are so wrong. It is not God given to be gay. The bible is very categorical. You are lost!

  11. Kenyans must look at the values of their presidential candidates. I will not promise Dennis my vote.

  12. mark mulonzi says:

    Kwani this guy did not read about Sodom and Gomorrah in your Bible while at the seminary? Gay person for president..NEVER

  13. Anne-marie says:

    This long article is useless because it does not mention what qualifies Denis for the office of President of the Republic of Kenya. Yes, his language is flowery and full of hope, but what does he bring to the table, what is his vision, and how does he plan to implement it??? In other words, nothing about him is new or fresh, apart from the fact he is gay.

  14. Caritas Diablo says:

    Seriously????

  15. @Michael If sexuality is not inborn, then it is all a lifestyle choice. That’s how I infer your comment.
    If Martha wasn’t running, I’d probably vote for Dennis. Better the devil I don’t know than the defunct one in current office.

  16. Krest Forty says:

    How many of our politicians are gay? Many. How many politicians deliver. Few. Lets give him a chance.

  17. Blessed Kariuki says:

    I do not support gayism but I do support change.However DN will have to give us something more for him to earn our vote. His CV needs to wooo and waaaooooo me

  18. Cat Wangari says:

    Hate is far more a chioice than homosexuality ever will be. All the best Denis, aluta contiua!!

  19. James Muchiri says:

    i do not support gay people & i definitely do not support mr.gay kenya here. the bible says it is wrong for a man to sleep with another man.but iam also conflicted as JC taught tolerance and forgiveness.i doubt if he can make it but the fact that he meks his sexuality open and known is courageous,for that he gets a nod.4 my vote, he will have 2 wait till i make it to the ballot box

  20. Joyce Akoth says:

    I am a proud lesbian lady and I welcome and support this move. Whether Denis wins or looses, he is still is and will forever be ONE of us. He has my vote. In fact, I will go further: Here are my voting details:

    AKOTH JOYCE OLUDHE
    Starehe Division
    ID: 227759847

  21. Frank Simiyu says:

    He has my vote and support. Leadership comes from strange quarters, dare I add.

  22. Anymus Gile says:

    Is he getting into politics coz he is gay? or is he getting to politics to help get the country out of the bloody shit that we have been put into all these decades by our leaders? As a young person, i would not vote for him, the fact that he is young, does not proof that has the capacity…he is definitely using the wrong ‘framing’ of his presidential candidature to get the votes…and of course tanishing the name of the young people…what cay LBGT do to save a country that any other person cannot do???

  23. Tolerance yes, but u should read your bible well. God condemns men sleeping with men and women sleeping with women!i wonder which bible you read. Do not disguise immorality under fighting for rights and seeking sympathy. You can never change God’s purpose….’ man shall live his parents n join a woman n they shall become man and wife’…thats in Genesis….and i dont see that change throught to revelation…read about Sodom n Gomorrah and u will get God’s position on gayism….brother turn back to God for His mercies are new every morning and u are right He made a donkey speak, He can free you form the chains and shackles, the lies and de-railings of Lucifer, the father of lies who makes a lie look like its so true. Denis am praying for you my Brother that God Almighty will open your eyes and speak the words spoken to Timothy by Paul, that in a large house there are vessels, some of silver and gold and others of clay, but whats makes a difference is that some of the vessels have been put aside for noble use..indeed my brother you are a golden vessel intended for a noble use. But Satan has taken u, knowing your value and potential that God has invested in you! Turned you into a goden vessel for inoble use…but the God news is that God is calling you, so that he can cleanse u of any inobility and put u back into into His purpose.
    U are truly talented and u have a great future ahead of you but not in the way you think. God has a bigger plan for you if you denounce lies and follow Him.
    Lots of love!

  24. Are we voting for him because he is gay or because of what he has to offer this country. Sweetheart just because you are ‘different’ doesn’t mean you can bring change. But, I do applaud you for going for it and even stating your sexual preference..be gay and be proud!

    My question is this.. Is Kenya ready for a woman president? Is Kenya ready for a proud gay president?

  25. Mediocre photos by Jerry; coulda done better, JR!!!! Seriously!

  26. Anne-marie says:

    @ Joyce Akoth, Are you saying you support his presidential bid because he is gay??? You have totally lost the plot. This is how we ended up with the likes of Sonko. People voted for him because he is young. Never mind the fact that he has no grasp of issues and thinks everything can be solved with violence. Please scrutinize Nzioka’s credentials carefully before you vote for him. I have nothing against him being gay, but what is his PLAN for Kenya and is he qualified for it???

  27. A leader is somebody who represents the people in the august house, change peoples’ lives for the better by tabling their issue for a speedy solution. Being open about your sexuality, read-gay, and young does not qualify one to be a be the president, but being a politician? You friggin kidding me, Sonko did it, but that was him. It is what the people will get in return that matters. So stop hiding under the youthfulness and gayism ish and show some creditials…what have you done for this country…being a gay youth aint one!

  28. I share sentiments with @Anne-marie. The guy has no agenda and the fact that he is gay is not enough grounds for presidency. It is made worse by the fact that it is actually frowned upon by most Kenyans. So really it is not endearing to him.

    @Joyce Akoth, choosing to support him because he is gay is not reason enough. It is the same as saying you will vote for Raila because he is your tribe mate. The fact that you have something in common is not enough. What will he do for the country!

    That said, he doesn’t have my vote. And that of many people i know.

  29. Just stumbled upon this blog and i have to ask how does being gay make someone a good and effective leader? If you can answer that,i will vote for you!

  30. Im straight and have no qualms with a gay politicians. What have the straight ones done anyway. Dennis, establish yourself, get the facts right and go ahead with the campaigns. If Sonko did it, anyone can. But I’d advice that you climb the tree from down, not try to catapult yourself to the top.

  31. As a gay man, i appreciate the fact he brings out the gay issue to the masses and giving us a presence which we desperately need, but in my opinion, Dennis is not a leader and will never be. This is another media gimmick for him to sell himself to the public and probably get financial gains from it. He has no professional background whatsoever. Whether he was as straight as the next Kenyan guy in this country I would never vote for him, for he has no agenda or focus for the future

  32. InMyOpinion says:

    I commend Denis for coming out because if one remains in denial they cannot be helped just like the alcoholics who have to accept they are that before they can be helped. By now I am sure you are convinced that I am a homophobe but the truth is that i don’t hate homosexuals (the person) but I hate homosexuality(the sin). Truth be told that doesn’t make me a better than them. I struggle with sexual sin myself, but the worst thing is to justify it. We are not animals but higher beings. We don’t act by impulse but by choice. A girl who is in love with a married man is still doing wrong. That kind of love is not virtuous but is vice that needs to be stopped. Just because a man loves another man romantically is no justification that the love is without fault. Even in nature regardless of religion there is a reason for the union of two sexual beings and the purpose is survival of the species. Gay relationships work against this natural law and is therefore unnatural. All of us need to turn away from sin and embrace God.

    Now that said, I agree with most that the guy has to sell his policies and abilities than his sexual orientation. He may be able to serve better as an activists for poverty eradication, equal rights for kenyans than a president. far often we blunder by giving activists leadership roles when they are more used to complaining than implementing stuff. When they get into power, power corrupts them faster than they can say “No to Corruption”. The reason why Wangari Maathai was a great leader apart from being an activist was the fact she did not only complain and campaign but got her hands dirty implementing. You want to fight poverty show us what you have done to fight poverty other than complaining like every other Tom, Dick and Harry that we should eradicate poverty. “Don’t ask what the nation can do for you but what you can do for the nation” enough said.

  33. antony mwoki mburu says:

    Thanks denis for your confindence,you can be may be, but your sexual status is disgusting
    we are not ready for a gay president, unless u confess,kenya is ready to go where none have ever gone
    in the high level.so dont mind we are together.

  34. personally i dnt care what the bible has to say, it keeps telling people how to live but never puts food on anyone’s table. That being said, this guy doesnt tell us what or how he will deal with tasking issues he simply says “hey, vote for me coz im gay”.

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