Justice Wilfrida Okwany has today temporarily lifted the ban of the film Rafiki, allowing for the film to viewed on Kenyan soil. The film was banned by the Kenya Film & Classification Board (KFCB) in April 2018.
Justice Okwany made the ruling in a case that had been filed by the producer of the film, Wanuri Kahiu, and the Creative Economy Working Group (CEWG) against KFCB and its CEO Ezekile Mutua. The 2 petitioners want the grounds for banning Rafiki declared unconstitutional because they limit freedom of expression . They further want sections 4,6,7,8,9,12,13,16,30,35 of Films and Stage Plays Act CAP 222 and sections 5(i), (ii), (iii), and (iv) of the KFCB Guidelines 2012 declared unconstitutional on the grounds that they limit freedom of expression.
The ban on the film has been lifted until 30th September 2018, pending hearing and determination of the case. This ruling will now make it possible for adult Kenyans to watch Rafiki and also for the film to be considered for selection for entry to the Academy for the Best Foreign Language Film category award at the 2019 Oscars by the Oscars Selection Committee Kenya.
CEWG Chairman Prof. Kimani Njogu had this to say about the ruling “Today is a great day for Kenyan creatives. It is a day to resolutely affirm that only the Constitution is Supreme. The Court has ruled that freedom of expression and freedom of artistic creativity can only be interpreted on the basis of fidelity of the law.”
Rafiki is a love story between 2 Kenyan girls Kena and Ziki despite the pressures of their family and the conservative society they live in.