Catholic allied groups demand return of controversial anti-condom billboard
By BONIFACE MWANGI
Six NGOs affiliated to the Catholic Church have given the Aids Control Council 14 days to return a controversial anti-condom use billboard it has confiscated.
On Thursday members of the NGOs picketed outside the council’s building, holding a banner bearing the message “One out of twelve condoms fail, try chastity”, attracting the attention of other tenants, motorists and passersby.
The lobbies, mobilized under the banner ‘Team Chastity Works” marched from Uhuru Park to Land Mark Plaza in Nairobi where the council offices are. They said they would move to court if the national Aids Control Council does not return billboards it pulled down in Nyeri ‘s Whispers Park on December 1.
“We hope that NACC will take our demands into consideration, failure to which we will file a law suit to compel compliance,” said Mr Godfrey Akumali, the chairman of Human Life International, who led the protests which involved the Culture Life of Africa, Secular Franciscan, Linda Uhai Consortium, Abstinence Kenya and True Love Generation.
Ms Clare Kerubo and Mr Agostine Mukiti, the youth representatives, presented a two-page petition to senior officers at the council since the Director Dr Nduku Kilonzo was not in.
The group picketed outside the council’s building, holding a banner bearing the message “One out of twelve condoms fail, try chastity”, attracting the attention of other tenants, motorists and passersby.
“We believe that by overemphasizing usage of condoms as opposed to chastity, the National Aids Control Council will be creating a society of free sex devoid of basic values. Studies have proven that 1 out of 12 condoms fail, which means that the promotion of condoms does increase the percentage of exposure to the health of our youth,” the petition read in part.
The group also demanded that the council stops infringing on the rights of the church to inform the public about the risks associated with condoms and free sex.
“We demand that the confiscated banner from Human Life International be returned within 14 days and that this message be disseminated to the youth as it is true,” the appeal read.
At the same time, the group demanded that the council stops frustrating the Film Classification Board which on Wednesday banned the airing of condoms and beer adverts on TVs during prime time. Mr Akumali, asked the council to support efforts by the board to ensure decent content for viewers.
“We want the Church be involved in drafting regulations on such matters as Aids control and that their proposals be put into consideration and that the council directs more funding to preaching chastity as opposed to using condoms,” said Mr Akumali.
The council’s regional director Nelson Muriu denied they were responsible for removing the banner but admitted that they are keeping it in their offices.
He ruled out returning the banner until the Church agreed to stop their campaign and vowed to fight activities that could water down the war on HIV/Aids.