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How the Kenyan constitution permits relations between cousins

Kenyan laws will never cease to surprise me. I was today years old when I found out, or rather was told by a few friends that apparently, according to the good old constitution, it’s A-Okay to have sex with your cousin!

The first thing that came to mind when I heard of this was ‘what the hell is this world coming to?’ Sex with a cousin? Legally acceptable? Truly the world is coming to an end. Over 7.9 billion people in the world and the person you choose to have sex with is your cousin. You must be very desperate, to say the least.

However, before you start plotting your family tree and swiping right on your cousin’s profile, let’s delve into this oddly approved cousinly conundrum.

First and foremost, let’s clarify a few things here. The Kenyan constitution doesn’t explicitly state, “Hey, go forth and have sex with your cousin.” Instead, it falls under the broader category of consanguinity, a legal term that refers to relationships between family members. While some countries prohibit cousinly romance, Kenya seems to be rather chill about it. That said, the country does regulate sexual engagements between cousins to some extent, and there’s a crucial distinction to make here.

You see, the Kenyan Marriage Act, which regulates all matters pertaining to marriage, allows cousins to do their thing, but only within the context of law. The act permits sex between cousins provided that both parties are at least 18 years old and above. My understanding of the said section (Section 20(1) of the Sexual Offences Act) is that if any sexual act takes place between two cousins, that does not amount to incest within the meaning of the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act.

But hang on a minute, we can’t just breeze past this without addressing the elephant in the room. Should we really be getting sexually involved with someone who shares our genes like they’re a Netflix password?

Proponents of cousinly love argue that it is just sex. Haven’t we all heard this before?! But the naysayers who believe that cousinly love can spell out disaster and chaos, claim that close cousin relationships may cause friction among family members, not to mention the spiritual condemnation that comes with it.

The bottom line is; it’s unnatural and morally unacceptable!