By Peter Smith

NAIROBI, May 23, 2006 ( – The First Lady of Kenya, Lucy Kibaki, spoke to Kenyan schoolgirls last week to warn them that sexual abstinence before marriage, not condoms, was essential to preserving their lives and futures. In speeches Thursday, and Saturday, Mrs. Kibaki spoke to high school girls about preserving their dignity and future, and urged them not to be duped into using the condom, which she linked to the spread of the AIDS epidemic that has sent millions of Kenyans and other Africans to an early grave.ÂÂÂÂ

“Fellow citizens, this gadget called the condom âEUR¦ is causing the spread of AIDS in this country”, Mrs. Kibaki said Saturday in a speech she delivered at St. Francis Girls’ Secondary School in Dol Dol in the north of Kenya. (from the Kenyan television NTV) Just days before in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, Mrs. Kibaki had taken her message to the State House Girls High School for an awards ceremony, saying, “I am not telling you to use condoms. I am not in favour of condoms.” Mrs. Kibaki blamed the rapid spread of Aids on a campaign that has pressured youth to use condoms instead of practicing abstinence before marriage (according to the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation). “I caution girls to be careful about their sexual behavior as this can lead to teenage pregnancy or HIV/AIDS infection.”

Mrs. Lucy Kibaki, who chairs the Organisation of the 40 African First Ladies, has joined with Ugandan First Lady Janet Musevi in calling for abstinence as the only way to stop the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Mrs. Musevi has for years been increasingly vocal about encouraging youth to practice abstinence before marriage as the way to prevent HIV transmission. The AIDS prevention program in Uganda, begun by her husband has cut pre-marital and extra-marital sexual activity down by stressing abstinence and fidelity to one’s spouse. Likewise the HIV transmission rate fell drastically from 18% to 5-7%, making it clear that abstinence has been the best tool of the most successful country in the fight against the disease.

Mrs. Kibaki’s speeches have caused “shock” in AIDS activists, and generated “controversy”, since she has dared to take her message that condoms spread AIDS to the youth, especially to the girls. As many African leaders have learned, anything that challenges the hallowed values of the Western sexual revolution is “controversial”. Mrs. Kibaki’s speeches have touched a nerve in AIDS activists, who continue to promote condom use, even though the 2003 UN report on condoms showed that they failed 10% of the time to prevent disease transmission, meaning that contraction of the disease means “when”, rather than “if”. For First Lady, Lucy Kibaki, “never” is a sure bet with abstinence.

See related coverage:
Uganda’s First Lady Warns Teens against Condom Use