The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has banned a film titled 'Rafiki'.
KFCB chief executive Ezekiel Mutua said the agency banned the film because it contains homosexual scenes which he said is illegal in Kenya.
Rafiki, which means "friend" in Kiswahili, tells the story of two young women who fell in love.
The film, directed by Wanuri Kahiu is set to premiere at this year’s 71st Cannes Film Festival next month.
It is the first Kenyan feature film to receive such an invitation from the biggest and most prestigious film festival in the world.
Dr Mutua said the film’s homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya is contrary to the law.
In a series on tweets, Dr Mutua said,
“Rafiki contains homosexual scenes that are against the law, the culture and the moral values of the Kenyan people. The film seeks to overtly promote lesbianism.
“We will not allow the creation, distribution, broadcast, exhibition or possession of any film that offends the sensibilities of the Kenyan people.
“The objective is clearly to normalize homosexuality in Kenya and the message in the story is to celebrate the resilience of youngsters involved in lesbianism. These are material alterations without full disclosure on the nature of the film,” he said.
Dr Mutua claimed the producers altered the film script which they submitted for licensing to the agency without permission.
Film director Wanuri Kahiu said: “I’m really disappointed because Kenyans already have access to watch films that have LGBT content, on Netflix, and in international films shown in Kenya and permitted by the classification board itself.”
“So to then just ban a Kenyan film because it deals with something already happening in society just seems like a contradiction,” she told Reuters.
The film agency said it is planning to pursue legal means to hold the producers accountable for making material alterations to the script they had produced for classification initially and coming up with a product whose theme and intention is contrary to that information.